U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks accompanied by Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke during a news conference to announce “a voting rights enforcement action” at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2021.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

The Department of Justice is suing Georgia, alleging a recently passed election law violates the Voting Rights Act’s protections for minority voters, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday.

“Where we see violations of federal law, we will act,” Garland said at a press conference.

Garland alleged Georgia’s election reform law was enacted “with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color.”

He called the Justice Department’s new lawsuit “the first of many steps we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote.”

Garland announced the federal suit about three months after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed the election overhaul bill passed by the GOP-controlled legislature.

The law reportedly enacts a slew of restrictive and potentially confusing measures that critics allege will harm turnout, especially in Democrat-and-minority-heavy urban and suburban counties.

The changes sparked a national outcry from Democrats and voting-rights groups. Major businesses and organizations such as Coca-Cola and the NCAA also protested the Peach State’s action.

Georgia is not alone in enacting voter restrictions. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar law in May, while other state legislatures across the country are considering legislation.

In Texas, Democrats recently thwarted passage of a restrictive voting bill. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to revive it.

Garland promised Friday that the Biden administration’s Justice Department is “scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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