Georgia seeks dismissal of DOJ suit against voting law

January 5, 2021 Atlanta: Voters lined up to cast ballots on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 at the Park Tavern located at 500 10th St NE in Atlanta. Georgia’s long moment in the national spotlight culminated Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, when state voters cast their votes to determine which party would control the U.S. Senate. Georgia voters also voted to elect a member of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates energy and utility rates and issues. The two most expensive Senate races in history saw more than $833 million been spent by the four campaigns and outside groups supporting them, blanketing the airwaves and stuffing mailboxes across the state. Much of that money has come from organizations with no direct connection to Georgia. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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January 5, 2021 Atlanta: Voters lined up to cast ballots on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 at the Park Tavern located at 500 10th St NE in Atlanta. Georgia’s long moment in the national spotlight culminated Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, when state voters cast their votes to determine which party would control the U.S. Senate. Georgia voters also voted to elect a member of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates energy and utility rates and issues. The two most expensive Senate races in history saw more than $833 million been spent by the four campaigns and outside groups supporting them, blanketing the airwaves and stuffing mailboxes across the state. Much of that money has come from organizations with no direct connection to Georgia. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Defenders of state voting law reject discrimination allegations

Georgia asked a judge Wednesday to throw out a federal lawsuit against the state’s new voting law, saying the case by the U.S. Department of Justice is based on “political posturing rather than a serious legal challenge.”

The motion to dismiss by Republican Attorney General Chris Carr said Georgia’s voting laws are nondiscriminatory and ensure greater voter access than several Democratic-run states.

“DOJ fills its complaint with innuendo and hyperbole. But such rhetoric does not make up for the lack of any factual allegations demonstrating that the General Assembly acted with a discriminatory purpose when it passed SB 202″ during this year’s legislative session, according to the motion.

The filing is the state’s response to the Biden administration’s first major voting rights case, which alleged that Georgia legislators targeted Black voters, especially by limiting absentee voting, which they used more often than white voters.

ExploreHow Georgia’s voting law works

Georgia’s voting law curtails ballot drop boxes, imposes stricter ID requirements, shortens absentee ballot request deadlines, prohibits handing out food and water to voters in line, and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature the power to seek the replacement of county election boards.

The Department of Justice contends that Georgia’s voting law violated the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law protecting racial minorities from discrimination.

Carr’s filing argued that the federal government didn’t take aim at several Democratic states with less voting access, including Delaware, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

The motion cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in an Arizona case that upheld its voting laws despite a challenge alleging they had a disproportionate impact on minority voters. The court decided that “usual burdens of voting” and “mere inconvenience” don’t violate laws barring discrimination.

The DOJ lawsuit, filed last month, is unlikely to be decided soon. Each party will gather evidence before a potential hearing on the motion to dismiss the case.

In all, eight lawsuits are pending against Georgia’s voting law since Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law March 25.