WASHINGTON—The Biden administration is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting law, a person familiar with the matter said Friday, the first such challenge to Republican-backed efforts in multiple states to tighten voting laws in ways critics say will discriminate against Black and minority voters.
The lawsuit is expected to allege that Georgia violated federal voting-rights law when it earlier this year enacted changes to the state's election requirements, including altering how people vote absentee and where people can drop off their ballots.
Democratic groups and politicians in the state objected to the changes, arguing they were simply an attempt by Republicans to limit Democratic votes in a state that has become a political battleground.
The expected lawsuit comes two days after Senate Republicans blocked Democrats from moving ahead with elections legislation, forcing the party to devise a new way forward after weeks of intraparty wrangling and fruitless calls from progressives to advance the bill without GOP support.
It also comes weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland said his agency would scrutinize a raft of new state election laws, promising to double the number of staff devoted to enforcement of federal voting-rights law.
At the time, Mr. Garland cited studies that he said showed that, in some jurisdictions, nonwhite voters must wait in line substantially longer than white voters to cast their ballots.
The Georgia law requires absentee voters to request ballots by providing their driver's license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number or a copy of some other accepted form of identification. They also have to provide this information when they mail in their ballots. Before the law, voters would sign an absentee-ballot application and sign the ballot when they mailed it in.
The law also placed new limits on how parties and voting groups mail out absentee-ballot request forms and limits the number of ballot drop boxes to one per county except for large counties, which can set up one box for every 100,000 registered voters. Under the new law, the drop boxes must be kept in secure voting locations and emptied and processed by election officials every night.
The law also gave authority to the state to take over county election boards if they are proven to have chronic mismanagement or fraud problems.
Aruna Viswanatha, Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2021
Voices4america Post Script. The right to vote is the bed rock of our Democracy. Go, Department of Justice, go! #VotingRight