Local faith leaders respond to DOJ lawsuit against Georgia


AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) – The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia Friday in an Atlanta federal courtroom. It alleges that Georgia violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The law was signed earlier this year, and local faith leaders were all but silent, saying the new law made it harder specifically for black people to vote.

“S.B. 202 was born out of lies and misinformation,” said Minister Shavonne Williams.

Minister Williams is an organizer and ambassador with Faith Public Life. The group mobilizes faith leaders and their congregations to get out and vote.

“And beyond voting we hold elected officials accountable watching policies, promoting and pushing policies for equity and equality for all,” said Minister Williams.

One policy Williams and FPL followed was S.B. 202, Georgia’s new voting law. Those against it commonly refer to it as Jim Crow 2.0.

“It specifically affects voters by decreasing the number of days you can request an absentee ballot, it decreases the hours that you can drop off your absentee ballot and the locations,” said Minister Williams.

Williams says the law makes it harder for a specific group of people to vote.

“When I came and traveled to watch the lines, they wrapped from the Bell Auditorium, all the way around to the Civic Center and beyond and so that means that if somebody faint in line, that just need a bottle of water so they can stay in line and do their part in our representative democracy, we can’t give them a bottle of water, we can’t give them a snack if they a diabetic,” she said.

Now, the DOJ is pushing back against that bill.

“I am ecstaic, historically we have been disenfranchised when it comes to voting,” said Rev. Willie J Wiley, a local pastor.

Rev. Wiley is one of the faith leaders involved in FLP. Both Williams and Wiley say the DOJ’s lawsuit against Georgia is a product of voter’s voices being heard.

“If we have more protection for the people act and the other acts on the federal level, then we will see these kinds of laws repealed,” said Minister Williams.

“Traditionally we have actually had to rely on the support of the federal government and by we I’m talking about people in southern states particularly, we’ve had to rely on them to assure that we had some measurement of support for equal access to the polls. So, I encourage this and I think that tin all excessive fairness and equity the republicans should rethink their stance,” said Rev. Wiley.

Governor Kemp responded to the suit via Twitter. He said in part quote,” I look forward to going three for three against Joe Biden to ensure it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia.”

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