(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The NAACP Georgia State Conference, alongside the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe, are suing Secretary of State Raffensperger and members of the State Election Board to prevent them from enforcing any provisions of SB 202 – Georgia’s new voting law that is designed to restrict the right of Georgia citizens to vote. The lawsuit states that SB 202 is a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate based on race, and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as undue burdens on the right to vote and the right to free speech and freedom of association.
SB 202 restricts voting at every stage. It makes it easier to restrict early voting hours – even allowing for the elimination of early voting on Sundays – which will prevent voters from being able to get to the polls. Black voters and other voters of color utilize Sunday early voting hours more often than white voters. It limits where voters can cast their vote in their own counties. And, it also shortens the runoff period. Their efforts to try and restrict voting access, as required by SB 202, constitute intentional discrimination in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
SB 202 makes it harder to vote by absentee ballot by imposing stricter ID requirements, making it harder for voters to receive them and return them, and moving up the deadline to request one which will prevent some who need to vote absentee from being able to do so.
SB 202 includes provisions that target and make early in-person voting, voting by absentee ballot, and using ballot drop boxes more difficult, all of which were used much more extensively by voters of color than voting in-person on election day. Furthermore, SB 202 removes the voting power of the Secretary of State on the State Elections Board, and allows the State Election Board to take over county election boards, which would give the State Elections Board unprecedented authority to target jurisdictions with a large population of Black voters and other voters of color. Even as it will cause longer lines and delays to vote, SB 202 goes so far as criminalizing individuals and charitable organizations who provide food and water to voters when they are waiting in line to vote.
“SB 202 is a blatant attempt by the Georgia legislature and Governor Kemp to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color,” said Janette Louard, Interim General Counsel, NAACP. “The Georgia law is part of a broader attempt to disenfranchise Black voters in states across the country. Voting is a fundamental right and efforts should be made to make it easier and to encourage more people to do their civic duty. Instead, we are seeing efforts to restrict voting for Black voters and other people of color. We will not let these blatantly discriminatory actions take place. They must be declared unconstitutional.”