Voters wait in line at the Savannah Civic Center on the first day of early voting for the November 2020 General Election. Credit: Margaret Coker/The Current

Republican Attorney General Chris Carr is asking a U.S. District Court judge to toss out a lawsuit that claims Georgia’s new election law disenfranchises minorities, the disabled and other marginalized groups.

This story also appeared in Georgia Recorder

Carr argues that Georgia remains one of the top states in the nation for providing access to the ballot box after state lawmakers passed the controversial “Election Integrity Act” in late March. Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed the legislation that roiled the 2021 General Assembly, acknowledging that lawsuits were sure to follow.

In a 28-page filing in response to the New Georgia Project’s lawsuit, Carr says the court should reject the voting rights group’s request to halt the state’s sweeping new election law from taking effect.

The response is the state’s first legal rebuttal to one of the seven federal suits filed by civil and voting rights organizations that claim new absentee ID requirements, limitations on absentee drop boxes and other changes violate the federal Voting Rights Act.  

Carr’s filing says the New Georgia Project suit doesn’t explain how the new voting rules are discriminatory. His filing says the changes to voting access contained in SB 202 don’t create significant barriers for Georgia voters in future elections and are not racially discriminatory.

“The court should allow Georgia to do what the Constitution specifically allows it to do- regulate its own election – and this court should dismiss the case,” Carr wrote.

“The plaintiff’s complaint never alleges any causal link between race and any of the specific practices they challenge as a burden on the right to vote under (Voting Rights Act), instead making- at best- generalized statements about disparate impacts,” the state’s filing says.

Republican  supporters of the election overhaul say the legislation improves the security of the absentee system by adding stronger ID requirements. They say it will give many Georgians more voting options by mandating an extra weekend voting day and more public notice when polling locations are changed.

Democrats and various voting groups that say the law restricts access claim that the overhaul is an overreaction by lawmakers based on high-profile defeats Republicans suffered in Georgia’s presidential election and two historic U.S. Senate runoffs.

Carr found himself drawn into the election controversy following the Nov. 3 general election when he declined to join a suit filed by the the Texas attorney general to overturn the 2020 presidential election over discredited claims of fraud. The U.S. Supreme Court soundly rejected the Texas suit.

Georgia’s 2020 election was repeatedly characterized by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as the most secure in the state’s history. 

Earlier this month, Carr resigned as chairman from a national GOP attorney general organization that sent out robocalls urging people to “Stop the Steal” leading up to the Jan 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.

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