Department of Justice Action Against Georgia Voting Laws: It’s Time to Nip the Evil in the Bud

by Eli Mshomi
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“This lawsuit is the first step of many we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information.”

(US Attorney General Merrick Garland)

The state of Georgia has become an epicenter of Republican voter suppression efforts in the post-2020 election times.

However, it has also triggered legal actions against Republicans, the first one of which is the Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative. Attorney General Merrick Garland has signaled to take legal action against the sweeping Georgian law, which was signed by Governor Brian Kemp earlier this year.

The acceptance by the attorney general that the law is targeted against Black people is a welcome move. This action at the federal level can be the beginning of a broader Democratic effort to stop Republicans from enacting any such laws in the future.

 

Georgia Voting Law: The Epicenter of Voting Rights Suppression

Since former President Donald Trump has been removed from the White House and Republicans lost the Senate, the only ambition of Republicans is to make an impact in the 2022 midterm elections.

However, this ambition is accompanied by unconstitutional efforts aiming to snatch the fundamental right to vote from Black Americans.

The Georgia election law is a classic example in this regard. Georgia has emerged as one of the states showing a significant increase in the Black population over time. More than 31 percent of the state’s population is Black, and almost 48% of the eligible voters in the state were Black Americans in the 2020 elections.

This expanding population of Blacks in Georgia voted in favor of Biden in the 2020 elections, resulting in Democrats winning the 16 electoral college votes and grabbing both Senate seats in the run-off elections.

Republicans have no other option to get the state back other than decreasing the turnout and pushing the Black voters back to their houses.

Whether it is Black people staying longer in the queues for voting and the legislation banning people from distributing foods and drinks to the voters in lines or the difficult voting registrations, Blacks were certainly at the receiving end.

Nonetheless, now when the DOJ is in action, they must pursue the matter until the end. 

The Efforts Must not Stop in Georgia

Democrats need to tackle this issue of voter suppression with the full flow these days because it would be the most challenging thing for them in the 2022 midterm elections.

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Now, when the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Georgia in the federal court, hopes are high that this matter can be resolved as soon as possible.

After a long time, the Biden administration has finally acted assertively to counter the Republicans’ mess which they watered in different state legislatures.

The lawsuit explicitly mentions that the election bill is intended to disenfranchise the Black people of Georgia.

Now, as the Biden administration has finally decided to be vocal about the Republicans’ agenda of voter suppression, it must not stop here.

Democrats should track other states as well where Republicans have been trying to disenfranchise people of color. A series of parallel lawsuits will put pressure on Republicans not to further their agenda. 

Democrats need only a couple of verdicts in their favor that can stop Republicans from enacting other laws against these lines.

If they successfully build a solid case in Georgia, they will have court precedence to back their cases in the other states as well.

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Republicans seem to be in the mood to defend their nonsense in court. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has already lambasted DOJ for pursuing the lawsuit, depicting his ill will of not accepting his autocratic agenda. 

Labeling the lawsuit to be “born out of lies and misinformation,” the Governor’s response evinces that a tussle in the court is inevitable soon.

The DOJ’s move did not come out of the blue. In fact, the attorney general vowed earlier about doubling the enforcement staff of the civil rights unit of the department to bolster the efforts to help the marginalized voters and challenging the legislation that is stopping them from participating in the national discourse.

Final Thoughts

While the likes of Stacey Abrams are helping the voters of Georgia on the field, the DOJ must put all the efforts legally.

The Senate Republicans have recently stopped the “For the People Act” unanimously, and despite Joe Manchin’s support, Democrats face a sweeping defeat in the upper chamber.

So, Democrats have no option left besides removing the filibuster, which itself is an arduous task, other than knocking on the legal doors.

Now Democrats must devise their strategy thoughtfully to contest legal battles against Republicans, proving their case before the judges that the imposed legislations do obstruct Black peoples’ right to vote.

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