EXCLUSIVE Georgia filed Wednesday a lawsuit against Justice Division in an attempt to "compel compliance with its request for records, communications and about the state’s new election law between left-leaning activists groups and lawmakers. It claimed that its failure to reply deprives public of the information it needs to determine if it is "colluding and conspiring with outside entities to pursue a political agenda."
Fox News was the first to obtain Georgia's legal file. It was led by Christopher Carr, state attorney general, and Brad Raffensperger, secretary of state.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. It stresses the importance of DOJ records to "answer a question of national import."
"In what ways did DOJ collaborate with outside entities to bring a case against Georgia but not other states with similar voting laws under Section 2 of The Voting Rights Act?" The lawsuit states. "The answer will clarify how transparently DOJ pursues a political agenda in its lawsuit against Georgia."
Georgia filed a FOIA request in August to the Justice Department. It requested all communications regarding SB 202, the state's new electoral law, since Nov. 3, 2020 between DOJ officials, and a list that included nearly 5 dozen entities or individuals, including Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ACLU.
FOIA also sought communications between DOJ officials, members of Congress, or their staff, regarding the state's electoral law. It also requested "all internal guidance documents" used by the Justice Department to determine whether a provision in a state election law is violative of the Voting Rights Act.
The lawsuit states that "By failing respond to the request the DOJ is depriving Plaintiffs of vital information required to determine if the Government is colluding/ conspiring with other entities to implement a political agenda."
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Raffensperger stated that the state does not understand why the Biden administration has stopped responding to their requests for communication.
Raffensperger said that "but we believe the people deserve to understand who is behind their politicized suit," Fox News reported. He noted that the state had been "more than fair or patient."
He stated that it had been more than 90 days since we requested and that they should have something back to me within 20 days.
Raffensperger stated, "We want to find out what kind of contacts they have had with Stacey Abrams or other organizations and who is pulling this string--who is pushing the politicized lawsuit."
This lawsuit is part of a federal Justice Department suit against Georgia alleging that SB 202 violates The Voting Rights Act.
Georgia's new law mandates voter ID to vote absentee. It does not rely on signature matching to verify; it limits the number of ballot drop boxes per county to one or one per 100,000 voters; and extends early voting days to 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and maximum 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Outside groups are prohibited from giving food or water to voters in line. Republicans claim this can be used to illegally influence those who wait to vote.
Additionally, the law gave more election power to the GOP-controlled state legislature. The law states that the General Assembly will select the chairperson of the state elections board. This is in addition to the Georgia secretary-of-state chairing the board. It reduces the time it takes to runoff from nine weeks down to four.
The state election board is now able to investigate county election boards. It can also suspend county election directors, though it can only suspend four at once.
The DOJ is targeting the following provisions: a ban on government entities distributing unsolicited absentee votes; fines on civic organizations, places of worship, and advocacy groups for distributing follow up absentee votes; and reducing absentee voting deadlines to 11 days prior to Election Day.
Georgia claimed that the election law was reasonable, non-discriminatory and within the main of all election laws in the country.
According to the state, the law "streamlines" the voting process by requiring absente voters to request a vote in advance and include a Georgia driver’s license or identification number. This provides objective criteria for verifying the voter's identity.
The state also claims that the law "streamlines" the process by requiring voters vote in the correct precincts. This ensures that voters can vote "without any outside pressure and prohibits anyone from approaching voters with anything of value." Drop boxes will now be required in all counties for the first time, according to the law.
Georgia officials also claimed that similar provisions were included in election laws in many states, including Delaware, New York and Rhode Island, New Jersey. Maryland, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.
The suit states that "Yet DOJ hasn't filed any Voting Rights Act lawsuits to the other states with similar electoral laws, increasing the likelihood that DOJ is a nakedly politically motivated action."
Raffensperger defended Wednesday's state election law as "commonsense" election reform measures.
He said, "We've been targeted and we want to find out why." "I believe the American people don’t like the Justice Department being politicized and weaponized against a state."