DOJ Suing Georgia Over Voting Law After Agency Promised to Review Controversial Bills

The Department of Justice will sue Georgia over its controversial voting laws two weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland said the wave of new laws in Republican-controlled states would be reviewed, the Associated Press reported.

The move comes amid the growing pressure on President Joe Biden's administration to review GOP-backed laws the several states passed in this last year.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks on gun crime prevention measures at the White House on June 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Joe Biden pledged to aggressively go after illegal gun dealers and to boost federal spending in aid to local law enforcement. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

As of mid-May, 22 restrictive laws had passed in at least 14 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which researches voting and supports expanded access.

The increased enforcement of voting rights laws also signals that Biden and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke—who was one of the nation's leading civil rights attorneys before her nomination to lead the department's civil rights division—are making good on a promise to refocus the department around civil rights after a tumultuous four years during the Trump administration.

While much of the more controversial aspects of Georgia's new voting law were dropped before it was passed, it is notable in its scope and for newly expansive powers granted to the state over local election offices.

Under the bill, the GOP-dominated legislature gave itself greater influence over a state board that regulates elections and empowered that board to remove local election officials deemed to be underperforming.

That has raised concerns that the state board could intervene in the operations of Democratic-run county election offices in metro Atlanta, the state's Democratic power center.

The bill also adds a voter ID requirement for mail ballots and will result in fewer ballot drop boxes in metro Atlanta.

Attorney General Merrick Garland DOJ
FILE - In this June 15, 2021, file photo Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the state's voting laws, a person familiar with the matter said Friday, June 25. Win McNamee/Associated Press