Groups ready to continue the fight to ensure the voices of Georgia voters are heard in our democratic process
ATLANTA — Today, national voting rights organization Fair Fight Action began trial in federal court more than three years after filing Fair Fight Action, Inc. v. Raffensperger.
Along with a coalition of plaintiffs, Fair Fight Action is asking the Court to enforce constitutional and statutory protections of the right to vote and correct violations of federal law.
“Since the start of this lawsuit, we have highlighted real voters and their challenges because we believe reporting their experiences to be one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the barriers in Georgia’s elections system,” said Fair Fight Action Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid. “We will continue to amplify the voices of voters at trial, when Georgians from across the state will testify about the obstacles they faced trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Of course, these voters traveling to trial are just the tip of the iceberg, as they represent the countless more in their communities who are shut out from the voting process. Our hope, at Fair Fight Action, is that memorializing voter experiences in an official Court record will help shape the future for Georgia voters in addition to becoming a critical piece of our history.”
The Fair Fight lawsuit is an opportunity to hold the Georgia Secretary of State and State Election Board accountable for an elections system that infringes upon various rights of Georgia voters under federal law, including the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the prohibition on racial discrimination in voting in the Fifteenth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Section Two of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“On Election Day 2018, tens of thousands of Georgians faced insurmountable obstacles to voting,” said lead trial counsel Allegra Lawrence-Hardy. “We heard from 80,000 of those Georgians. These brave Georgians led us to file this lawsuit, and over three years later, after repeated attempts by the state to silence their voices by asking the court to throw this lawsuit out, they refused to be sidelined. So we are finally here for the first voting rights case to be tried on the merits in the Northern District of Georgia in over a decade. We are honored to fight for Georgians today and we are grateful to the Georgians who persevered in this fight.”
The breadth of the constitutional and statutory challenges to the State’s election practices reflects the gravity of the problems Georgians face when trying to become registered to vote, cast a ballot, and have their ballot counted. The trial, which will cover Plaintiffs’ several constitutional claims and their claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, is expected to last approximately four weeks.
“More than three years after we challenged Georgia’s unconstitutional election policies, we have arrived at our opportunity to advocate on behalf of all Georgia voters in the Fair Fight Action, et al. v. Raffensperger litigation and fight back against the legacy of voter suppression in the South,” said Christina Coleman, Sr. Communications Director, Care in Action. “This trial is a historic moment for the entire nation – one that demonstrates our collective commitment to upholding democracy and eradicating unlawful election policies that target voters, disproportionately voters of color. We are proud to advocate for and with domestic workers who are among those impacted by unfair election laws and who are a critical but underrepresented segment of the electorate. Women of color, people of color, and workers from all walks of life deserve access to free and fair elections across the country, and Care in Action stands with all people who wish to exercise their fundamental right to vote. We are ready to present our case at trial beginning April 11, 2022.”
In response to the State’s election practices that make voting more difficult, especially for people of color, the lawsuit seeks to improve access to the ballot for all by removing obstacles to voting and increasing uniformity in practices across the state so that every eligible voter, no matter where in Georgia they live, has the opportunity to make their voice heard.
“More than 500 Georgia congregations strong, the Sixth District AME church has not shied away from challenging suppressive tactics intended to crush the Black vote,”said Bishop Reginald Jackson of the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church. “Our more than 90,000 Georgia parishioners will not silently tolerate injustice at the polls. We will continue faithfully fighting for meaningful change; and this trial is an opportunity to accelerate the fight.”
“Virginia-Highland Church is an inclusive, affirming, and progressive community of faith. For decades we have taken a stand for justice and advocated for the rights of all people—from women’s rights to LGBTQI rights to voting rights,” said Reverend Matthew Laney, Pastor for Virginia Highland Church. “Unfortunately, voting has become an obstacle course in Georgia. Through this trial, we hope that our community, and every Georgian, will be able to exercise their right to vote, without unnecessary hurdles, and express their vision for our state and for the world.”
“Baconton Missionary Baptist Church has a rich history of active involvement in the fight for voting rights” said Reverend Hermon Scott, Pastor, Baconton Missionary Baptist Church. “Through prayer and action, we’ve dedicated resources and time to educating voters and encouraging participation in the voting process. Our prayer is that this trial will give voice to the voiceless and shed light on the voting barriers people across Georgia face.”
“Voting rights have been embedded into the heart of Ebenezer Baptist Church since its founding nearly 137 years ago. Consistent with the Church’s mission, we have fought against the practices that infringe upon the right to vote for generations. Just like our predecessors, our Social Justice Ministry is dedicated to removing the obstacles that prevent our community from making their voice heard.” – Ebenezer Baptist Church