The Georgia NAACP, People's Agenda, League of Women Voters of Georgia and other coalition partners filed a lawsuit challenging SB202, a new law that restricted early voting and ballot drop boxes and criminalized providing water and food to voters waiting in line to vote.
On Friday, Aug. 18, a federal judge temporarily blocked provisions of Georgia’s omnibus 2021 voter suppression law Senate Bill 202.
One of the provisions that has been blocked required election officials to decline an absentee ballot if the birth date indicated on the outer envelope of the ballot did not align with the birth date in the voter's registration record. The second provision prohibited individuals from distributing food and water within 25 feet of a voter in line, even if the voter was more than 150 feet away from a polling place. Those who violated this rule could face criminal penalties. This practice is commonly referred to as "line warming."
The recent victory for voting rights can be attributed to a combined federal lawsuit initiated by a coalition of civil and voting rights groups. They challenged the various anti-voting provisions outlined in S.B. 202. In the court order that halted the birth date matching requirement within S.B. 202, Judge J.P. Boulee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia specifically ruled that this demand likely goes against the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act. This provision safeguards against disenfranchisement due to minor errors unrelated to a voter's eligibility.
'We are committed to protecting the right to vote against attempts by the State of Georgia to suppress the voices of millions of Georgians," stated Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs. "We also ready ourselves for the final decisions on our pending litigation in Federal Court"