Georgia voting reform
Voting rights advocates demonstrate in front of the Georgia Govenor's Mansion in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 25 March 2021. (ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Georgia Lawmakers Face Lawsuits and Corporate Boycotts Following Racist and Hyper Restrictive New Voting Regulations

Just days after Georgia lawmakers approved a voter suppression law designed to disenfranchise the state’s citizens, making it harder for young people, people of color and Democrats, efforts including lawsuits and corporate boycotts are already underway in an attempt to roll back the racist and anti-American restrictions. 

Inae Oh of Mother Jones has reported that three groups — the New Georgia Project, which was founded by Stacey Abrams, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise — have filed a lawsuit intended to block the measure. 

“Calling the legislation an effort to impose ‘unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote’ — particularly for Black voters — the plaintiffs accused Georgia Republicans of acting in direct response to former President Donald Trump’s stunning campaign to undo Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state,” Oh said. 

Marc Elias, the election lawyer leading the suit, said “none of the bill’s burdensome and discriminatory changes to Georgia’s election code will increase the public’s confidence in the state’s election administration or ensure election integrity. Rather, the grab bag of voting restrictions that populate SB 202 makes it clear that the Bill was animated by an impermissible goal of restricting voting.”

According to Oh, the groups “objected to a wide range of provisions in the bill, including a ban on non-poll workers distributing water to voters waiting in line and restrictions on the use of absentee drop boxes.”

Another Mother Jones reporter, Ari Berman, wrote that the new voting restrictions would also grant the state board of elections sweeping powers “to take over county election boards it views as underperforming, raising the possibility that elections officials appointed by and beholden to the heavily gerrymandered Republican legislature could take over election operations in Democratic strongholds like Atlanta’s Fulton County, where Trump and his allies spread conspiracy theories about ‘suitcases’ of ballots being counted by election officials in November after GOP poll monitors had left.”

Following that initial lawsuit, John Kruzel of The Hill has reported that the state has also been hit with a second lawsuit from the Georgia NAACP, Galeo Latino Community Development Fund, the League of Women Voters of Georgia and several other groups making similar allegations of bias and discrimination within the new regulations.

“The 56-page complaint filed in federal court in Atlanta alleges that minority voters will be hit especially hard by the new legislation, which plaintiffs say illegally suppresses voters’ rights in violation of constitutional protections and the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” said Kruzel. 

“The complaint alleges that the law is the culmination of a ‘concerted effort’ by [Gov. Brian] Kemp and Republican state lawmakers ‘to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color,’” Kruzel reported. “[The complaint also] claims the restrictions are a GOP response to demographic changes that contributed to the state favoring Democratic candidates in recent elections.”

If the growing list of lawsuits filed against the state isn’t enough to change the restrictive voting policy, some advocacy groups are hoping that hitting the state financially might be.

CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Jill Martin have reported that the National Black Justice Coalition has called for the PGA Tour to pull out of the upcoming Masters Tournament, which is set to be hosted in the Peach State.

“The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law but to also take action,” the group said in a statement.

“Major League Baseball may also be faced with a decision [on the matter],” Chavez and Martin reported. “This year’s MLB All-Star Game is scheduled to take place this summer at Truist Park — home of the Atlanta Braves.”

When asked about his stance by the Boston Globe, Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLB Players Association said the union is “open to discussions” of pulling the MLB All-Star game out of Georgia.

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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