The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a press release Thursday that they are intervening to defend Georgia against the “politically-motivated lawsuit.”
President Joe Biden and other Democrats are “weaponizing the Justice Department by trying to strong-arm the state of Georgia into making its elections less secure,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement in the release.
Republicans argue that SB 202, the election overhaul bill signed in March by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, enshrines common-sense voter protections into law.
But Attorney General Merrick Garland, who announced the lawsuit in late June, accused the Peach State of enacting the law “with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color.”
The law reportedly enacts a slew of restrictive and potentially confusing measures that critics allege will harm turnout, especially in Democrat and minority-heavy urban and suburban counties.
The DOJ’s complaint notes, for instance, that the law imposes new restrictions and additional steps on the process of casting absentee ballots — changes that come in the context of a “dramatic increase in Black Georgians’ use of absentee voting” in the 2020 election cycle.
The historically Republican-leaning state broke for Biden over former President Donald Trump in a major upset. Trump never conceded to Biden and has repeatedly made the false claim that the presidential race was stolen from him through widespread fraud. Democrats also won the state’s two U.S. Senate seats in early January runoffs, giving the party an effective majority in the chamber.
In the wake of the 2020 elections, which ended with Democrats in control of the White House and Congress, Republicans in numerous states have put forward election-reform proposals that mirror parts of Georgia’s law.
The court, in a 6-3 opinion that divided the conservative majority from the three liberal justices, said that the Arizona rules did not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires elections to be equally open to people of all races.
“Democrats in Washington are fighting tooth and nail to strip states of all local election control, and Georgia is their number one target,” NRSC Chairman and Florida Sen. Rick Scott said in the press release.
“The Department of Justice’s frivolous, politicized lawsuit looks to overturn a common sense, popular bill that would protect every Georgian’s vote, encourage more voting, and restore trust in the process,” Scott said.
“Republicans will not stand for such abusive overreach by the DOJ and the NRSC is proud to join the RNC in this worthwhile fight,” he said.