Lawsuit alleges that Georgia voting law discriminates against Black voters

November 3, 2020 Atlanta: Poll workers (Left to right) Beth Claimo, Teresa Johnson and Karin Mueller wait on voters to approach their table at Butler Street Baptist Church at 315 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Voters lined up outside polling places Tuesday morning to be among the first to cast their votes on a crucial Election Day. It’s expected to be the biggest day of voting in Georgia, with turnout reaching as high as 2 million. Another 3.9 million people already cast early or absentee ballots. Some told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that they expect social unrest whether Biden or Trump wins the election. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
Caption
November 3, 2020 Atlanta: Poll workers (Left to right) Beth Claimo, Teresa Johnson and Karin Mueller wait on voters to approach their table at Butler Street Baptist Church at 315 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Voters lined up outside polling places Tuesday morning to be among the first to cast their votes on a crucial Election Day. It’s expected to be the biggest day of voting in Georgia, with turnout reaching as high as 2 million. Another 3.9 million people already cast early or absentee ballots. Some told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that they expect social unrest whether Biden or Trump wins the election. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that Georgia’s voting law is racially discriminatory against Black, Latino and Asian voters by making it harder for them to vote with absentee ballots, during runoffs and on election day.

The case is the sixth lawsuit attempting to stop the new voting rules since Gov. Brian Kemp signed them into law last month.

The suit by the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and several other organizations alleges that drop box restrictions, earlier absentee ballot deadlines, quicker runoffs, long lines and ID requirements will have a disproportionate impact on Black voters and other historically disenfranchised communities.

“The bill’s target is clear: to create barriers, a move to silence voters of faith and decrease the political power of Black and brown voters,” said Richard Morales, policy director for the Faith in Action Network, a plaintiff in the case. “The law is plain and simple voter suppression, aimed at making it harder for Black and brown voters and voters of faith to have a voice in our democracy.”

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The lawsuit says the voting law is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects voters of color who cast absentee ballots and suffered through long lines at a higher rate than white voters.

The legal complaint objects to strict limits on drop box availability, a deadline to request absentee ballots 11 days before election day, a reduction in early voting before runoffs, ID verification requirements of voters who lack a state ID, bans on early voting buses and a prohibition on handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.

State legislators who supported the law have said it treats all voters equally and will improve voter confidence in elections.

Previous lawsuits have also opposed drop box restrictions, ID requirements, absentee request deadlines, provisional ballot disqualifications, food and drink limits and absentee ballot request mailings.

About the lawsuit

The suit alleges that drop box restrictions, earlier absentee ballot deadlines, quicker runoffs, long lines and ID requirements will have a disproportionate impact on Black voters and other historically disenfranchised communities.