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Georgia sues U.S. justice department over records request

(The Center Square) — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce a Freedom of Information Act request for information linked to the agency’s lawsuit against the state’s election reform bill.

Raffensperger sent the DOJ the FOIA request at the end of August. The federal agency confirmed it was received but has not sent the information, exceeding the legal time limit for fulfilling the request.  

Raffensperger said the DOJ is “stonewalling” because of political opposition and said in the complaint, it is “depriving” “the public of vital information needed to determine the extent to which and by what methods the government is colluding or conspiring with outside entities to carry out a political agenda.” 

The DOJ filed a lawsuit in June against Georgia, Raffensperger and other election officials over the state’s recent voting reform law. Federal justice officials said several provisions in the measure, signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in March, block the right to vote for Georgians based on race. DOJ asked the court to block provisions discriminatory provisions.

The DOJ has issues with parts of the bill that ban government entities from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications and fine civic organizations, churches and advocacy groups for sending them. They also oppose the shortening of deadlines for absentee ballots and out-of-precinct provisional ballots. They allege the limitations on drop boxes and restrictions on food and water giveaways close to precincts or polling lines are discriminatory, and so is a photocopy identification requirement.

Raffensperger, Kemp and Attorney General Christopher Carr immediately slammed the DOJ lawsuit as politically motivated. Raffensperger sent the FOIA request Aug. 31, asking for any correspondences among the DOJ and 62 outside parties and members of Congress or their staff discussing the election law or the lawsuit against the law. He also requested documents supporting the agency claims in the lawsuit.

According to the FOIA, the agency has 20 work days to respond to a simple request. If the request is not simple or cannot be completed within that time limit, the agency must inform the requester in writing. Raffensperger noted that as of yesterday, 67 work days have passed since he sent the request.

“Considering how blatantly political the Biden lawsuit against Georgia’s commonsense election law was from the beginning, it’s no surprise they would stonewall our request for basic transparency,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “I will always fight for truth and integrity in Georgia’s elections.”

By Nyamekye Daniel | The Center Square

The Georgia Virtue
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