WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it is suing Georgia over provisions of its omnibus voter suppression law, Senate Bill 202. The suit comes after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated earlier this month that the DOJ would rededicate its resources to protect voting rights across the country. The lawsuit, filed on the eighth anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, highlights the first major action the DOJ has taken to fight the recent wave of GOP voter suppression laws.
The lawsuit is challenging several provisions of S.B. 202 — including a shortened absentee ballot request timeline, new restrictions for drop box locations and the criminalization of “line warming” to help voters waiting in line — by alleging that the law was “enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians’ to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who will lead the case, pointed out that Georgia’s law follows unprecedented absentee ballot use and participation by Black Americans in the past election cycle.