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House Republicans call for DOJ lawsuit against Georgia election law to be dismissed in amicus brief

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans on Monday filed an amicus brief in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Georgia’s election law, urging the court to dismiss the case, claiming it is “without merit,” and arguing that the Constitution grants states the authority to make changes to election laws. 

The amicus brief, filed by 57 GOP members of Congress with the help of Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, are arguing that the case is “without merit,” citing the elections clause of the Constitution, which gives state legislatures “broad authority” to regulate the times, places and manner of elections.

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“The Constitution grants states – not the Executive Branch or federal courts – broad discretion to prevent potential voter fraud and voter intimidation, including implementing voter ID,” Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., told Fox News. “The Biden Administration’s lawsuit against Georgia is just the latest example of an ongoing effort to federalize elections, and is the same attempt that is being waged legislatively with Congressional Democrats’ For the People Act.” 

“We must reject these efforts and stand with the Constitution to defend states’ authority to conduct and administer elections,” Allen added. 

Other supporters of the brief include Reps. Buddy Carter, Andrew S. Clyde, Drew Ferguson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott, Robert B. Aderholt, Jodey C. Arrington, Brian Babin, Jim Banks, Andy Barr, Andy Biggs, Dan Bishop, Lauren Boebert, Ted Budd, Ken Calvert, Madison Cawthorn, Rodney Davis, Jeff Duncan, Neal Dunn, Ron Estes, Virginia Foxx, Bob Gibbs, Louie Gohmert, Bob Good, Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Glenn Grothman, Diana Harshbarger, Vicky Hartzler, Richard Hudson, Ronny L. Jackson, Mike Johnson, Doug Lamborn, Nancy Mace, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D., Alex X. Mooney, Ralph Norman, Scott Perry, August Pfluger, Bill Posey, Tom Rice, John Rose, David Rouzer, Chip Roy, Steve Scalise, Pete Sessions, Adrian Smith, Jason Smith, Elise Stefanik, W. Gregory Steube, Claudia Tenney, William Timmons, Tim Walberg, Randy Weber, and Joe Wilson

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit last month against the state of Georgia over its new election law. 

Georgia’s new law requires voter ID for absentee voting rather than relying on signature matching for verification; limits ballot drop boxes to one per county or one per 100,000 voters; and expands early voting days and standardized early voting hours to a minimum of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a maximum of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The legislation also barred outside groups from passing out food and water to those in line, which Republicans say can be used as a method to illegally influence people waiting to vote.

The law also handed more election authority to the GOP-controlled state legislature. It states that the General Assembly is to select the chair of the state elections board, rather than the board being chaired by the Georgia secretary of state. It also shortens runoffs from nine weeks to four. The state election board can also now investigate county election boards and has the power to suspend county election superintendents – though the board can only suspend four at a time.

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The Justice Department’s lawsuit targeted a number of provisions, including a ban on government entities handing out unsolicited absentee ballots; fines on civic groups, places of worship and advocacy organizations for distributing follow-up absentee ballots; and shortening absentee ballots; restricting the distribution of food and water close to a polling place; and shortening absentee ballot deadlines to 11 days before Election Day.

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The brief also argues that Georgia’s new election law “was opposed by one major political party, and supported by the other,” arguing that it does not give rise to a claim of a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department is arguing that the Georgia law is in violation of the VRA.

“This lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed,” the brief states.

The filing comes after the state of Georgia filed a motion last week seeking a full dismissal of what it calls the DOJ’s “politicized intrusion into the State of Georgia’s constitutional authority to regulate the ‘time, place and manner’ of its elections,” while arguing that the measures included in the state’s new election law that the DOJ characterizes as “discriminatory” or “racist” are law in other traditionally blue states.

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“The complaint rests on political posturing rather than a serious legal challenge to SB202,” the filing states, adding that it “must be dismissed.”