Georgian Organizations File Preliminary Injunction to Challenge Voting Barriers

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Voting rights groups have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction challenging certain voting barriers created by Georgia’s anti-voting law, SB 202.

According to Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), if granted, the preliminary injunction would lift restrictions on queuing relief, including the free distribution of food, water and other supplies to voters waiting in line. This would allow nonpartisan voting rights organizations to continue providing free food and water to voters online, as they did before SB 202 passed.

The motion claims that online relief restrictions violate the right to free speech of those who distribute online relief and express their gratitude to Georgians for voting, in addition to imposing undue barriers on voters.

How did we come here?

After Georgia voters turned out in record numbers for the 2020 presidential election and U.S. Senate elections in early 2021, state lawmakers passed SB 202, which was deemed unconstitutional and racially discriminatory by many of his opponents. Critics point out that SB 202 massively targets and disenfranchises black voters and voters of color.

In response, voting rights organizations filed the Sixth District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church against Brian Kemp, challenging several provisions of SB 202, according to the SPLC.

Georgia organizations unite against SB 202

“Under SB 202, the Georgia state government has created barriers to voting that target basic human comforts, such as food and water during a long wait at the polls,” said attorney Poy Winichakul. principal for the right to vote in the SPLC. “We are filing this motion for a preliminary injunction so that Georgians waiting in long lines can have the simple relief of water or a snack.”

“By criminalizing the handing out of food or water to voters waiting in line, the relief ban makes it more difficult to vote, especially for voters of color and voters with disabilities,” saide Rahul Garabadu, a suffrage lawyer at the ACLU of Georgia.

“This law is a blatant and brazen attempt to make it harder to vote in Georgia. It’s inhumane, it represents politics at its worst, and it’s clearly illegal,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

“Georgians suffer from some of the longest lines at polling places in the country, especially in neighborhoods of color,” said Adam Sieff, attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine. “But instead of making it easier for the elderly or parents waiting with children to vote in sweltering heat or scorching cold, SB 202 criminalizes a neighbor offering those voters a bottle of water or a cup of hot coffee. This is not only inhumane, it is also a gross violation of the First Amendment and of these citizens’ rights as voters.

“Within civil rights movements and other justice movements, there is a long tradition of organizations like the ones we represent providing food and water to help black and other voters exercise their right to vote,” said Leah Aden, deputy director of litigation at LDF. “Georgia’s ban on the ability of these organizations to provide this support is indicative of the cruel tactics those in power are prepared to employ to prevent communities of color from participating as they did in the 2020 elections and of 2021.”

Deprived of water and food in long queues, Georgian voters are deprived of their basic human rights while lining up to vote for a better future that looks nothing like today.

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