DOJ suing Ga. over state’s new voting law, Gov. Kemp addresses lawsuit while in Savannah

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2021 at 9:54 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Department of Justice is suing Georgia over the state’s Election Integrity Act.

Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger have already responded to the announcement saying they plan to fight in court.

Governor Kemp accused the president of using the DOJ as a tool of “federal government overreach.”

“This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start,” said Governor Kemp. “Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab through Congress - and failed. Now, they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy. As Secretary of State, I fought the Obama Justice Department twice to protect the security of our elections - and won. I look forward to going three for three to ensure it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia.”

Secretary Raffensperger released the following statement on the lawsuit from the Biden Administration attempting to overturn Georgia’s election law:

“The Biden Administration continues to do the bidding of Stacey Abrams and spreads more lies about Georgia’s election law. Their lies already cost Georgia $100 million and got the President awarded with four Pinocchios. It is no surprise that they would operationalize their lies with the full force of the federal government. I look forward to meeting them, and beating them, in court.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland says the recently-passed election law violates protections for minority voters in the Voting Rights Act.

“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia. Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws we enacted with the purpose of denying or bridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the voting rights act,” said Garland.

The laws passed back in March imposes stricter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and makes it illegal to approach voters in line to give them food or water.

The announcement comes just two weeks after Garland said the Justice Department would scrutinize new laws in Republican-controlled states that tighten voting rules. Garland pledged then to take action if prosecutors found unlawful activity.

Governor Brian Kemp holds news conference in Savannah

Governor Brian Kemp was in Savannah on Friday to read to children and tour Avant Learning Academy. He addressed the lawsuit at the Savannah Convention Center. There was no shortage of finger pointing in the governor’s remarks. He says this is a politically motivated assault on our democracy.

The governor says though it is sad to see the DOJ used this way, it does not surprise him. He says the administration is forcing their extreme agenda on every state.

He says the Biden administration is ignoring the border crisis, rising crime and instead going after states ensuring the sanctity of the ballot box. The governor says the truth is the law ensures the elections are secure, accessible and fair.

“Let me be clear the DOJ lawsuit announced today is legally and constitutionally dead wrong. Their false and baseless accusations are quite honestly disgusting, but I can’t say that I am surprised. The president and his administration, Stacey Abrams and their far left allies have lied about the election integrity act from the beginning,” said Gov. Kemp.

WTOC asked Gov. Kemp what he has to say to Black Voters in Georgia.

“Listen I’ve reached out to a lot of African Americans and other minority groups people about what the truth is in this bill. I’ve done over 80 interviews about SB 202 in traditional and non-traditional markets answering every single question. This bill is not voter suppression. My African American friends in the state of georgia and across the country need to know that I’m not the one lying to you here,” said Gov. Kemp.

Governor Kemp says the law makes it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.

The governor very pointedly said they are coming for you next - for other states, ballgames and businesses. He says he will not back down, and is not scared.

State lawmakers weigh in on lawsuit

State lawmakers are the ones that passed the election bill here in Georgia. Republican and Democrat lawmakers have mixed reactions to the lawsuit.

Democrats say it’s important to hold the state accountable for attempting to suppress voters, while Republicans say the law does the exact opposite and makes it harder to cheat.

Lawmakers have been talking about this law for a few months now. Republicans say the law expands voting by adding an additional weekend of early voting. Meanwhile, Democrats say it suppresses voters by making it a crime to hand out food and drinks to voters in line along with assigning one absentee drop box per 100,000 registered voters.

Democrat Representative Carl Gilliard applauds the Biden Administration for filing the suit against the state. Republican Representative Ron Stephens says he expected some legal response after Senate Bill 202 was made into law.

“It’s misinformation, lies if you will form the Biden Administration,” said Rep. Ron Stephens, (R) GA House 164. “Whenever we did this I never would’ve voted for a bill that sought to go after voter suppression. It’s just not something I’m about. I suppose that the administration especially the DOJ does not like the same rules for in person voting with an ID and those who vote absentee with an ID.”

“It just seems like a detriment of going backwards. I think we should look at this closely,” said Rep. Carl Gilliard (D) GA House 162. “The Attorney General and the President have done a very good thing and looking at taking Georgia to court. Because Georgia took the voting opportunities for several Georgians backwards instead of moving forwards.”

Republicans say the law expands voting, by adding an additional weekend of early voting.

Meanwhile Democrats say it suppresses voters by making it a crime to hand out food and drinks to voters in line along with assigning one absentee drop box per 100,000 registered voters

“You want to put someone in jail for giving a water or snack to voters standing in line when we know historically African-Americans have waited in longer lines in their communities to vote than in many more communities,” said Rep. Derek Mallow, (D) GA House 163.

Governor Kemp and other state leaders say they will not back down from this fight. Democrats say they hope to see the Department of Justice tear the law down in its entirety.

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