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Civil rights groups file federal lawsuit against Georgia voting law

It is the third federal lawsuit filed against SB 202

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FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2020, file photo Maricopa County elections officials count ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix. Eight years after carving the heart out of a landmark voting rights law, the Supreme Court is looking at putting new limits on efforts to combat racial discrimination in voting. The justices are taking up a case about Arizona restrictions on ballot collection and another policy that penalizes voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Civil rights groups have joined together to file a federal lawsuit over Georgia’s SB 202 bill, restricting voting access in the state, making it the third federal lawsuit challenging it. 

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and Southern Poverty Law Center are involved in the suit, CNN reports.

Law firms WilmerHale and Davis Wright Tremaine brought the case on behalf of the Sixth District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Women Watch Afrika, Latino Community Fund Georgia and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

The suit alleges the new law makes it harder for Georgians to vote, specifically voters of color, new citizens and those from specific religious communities. 

RELATED‘Black people are under attack’: GA Governor signs voter suppression bill 

The bill was was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp and it: 

  • Limits access to voting drop boxes;
  • It makes giving food or drinks to voters a misdemeanor crime;
  • Allows for unlimited challenges to voter registrations and eligibility;
  • Sets up a fraud hotline;
  • Requires counties to keep counting ballots without a break and; 
  • Shortens the runoff cycle from nine weeks to four weeks

Advocates against voter suppression have referred to the bill as “Jim Crow 2.0.”

The other two lawsuits include one filed by election attorney Marc Elias on behalf of the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc. 

The Georgia NAACP filed the other suit alongside the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, League of Women Voters of Georgia, GALEAO Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe. 

According to CNN, the groups claim SB 202 “is the culmination of a concerted effort to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color by the Republican State Senate, State House and Governor.”