WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced Friday that it is suing the state of Georgia over its recently enacted voting restrictions.
“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
The move is the first major federal enforcement action around the spate of Republican-led laws that impose limits on voting in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s election loss.
The Republican-controlled state government in Georgia imposed a set sweeping new restrictions, many of them fueled by Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election had been subject to rampant fraud.
Republicans have argued that the rules were needed to prevent fraud. Democrats have countered that the new laws are designed to suppress turnout, particularly among constituencies that historically vote for their candidates.
Democrats in Congress have cited overturning state laws like the one in Georgia as a top priority, arguing it is necessary to protect democracy.
In the House, Democrats earlier this year passed a sweeping voting bill on a party-line vote that would have reversed the Georgia law but also enacted other changes to national election standards and campaign finance rules. The bill was then blocked in the Senate earlier this week, when all of the chamber’s Republicans voted to filibuster the bill.
Trump responded to the announcement with a statement calling on Georgia voters to sue their state over the results of the election and repeating his unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.