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Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Several civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against Georgia election officials challenging Republican-crafted voting restrictions signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday.

Why it matters: The lawsuit from New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise alleges that the restrictions violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 14th Amendment by inflicting "unjustifiable burdens" that disproportionately affect people of color and young, poor and disabled citizens.

  • The Georgia law imposes new ID requirements, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, changes early voting hours, prohibits third parties from collecting absentee ballots and bans non-poll workers from giving food and water to voters in line, among other restrictions.
  • Kemp said at the signing of the bill on Thursday that it will ensure Georgia’s elections are "secure, accessible and fair."

But, but, but: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, one of the defendants in the lawsuit, has repeatedly said his office found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, despite baseless claims to the contrary by former President Trump.

The big picture: Georgia is the first battleground state to enact sweeping new legislation rolling back voting rights in the wake of the 2020 election, which saw record levels of mail-in and early voting due to the pandemic. Dozens of GOP-led state legislatures have proposed similar voting restrictions, infuriating Democrats and voting rights activists.

Read the lawsuit.

Go deeper: Georgia lawmaker released on bond after arrest during signing of GOP voting bill

Go deeper

Georgia governor signs law curbing voting access

Photo: Megan Varner via Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a sweeping, GOP-sponsored overhaul to the state's election law on Thursday.

Why it matters: It is the first battleground state to pass such a law in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Updated Mar 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Georgia lawmaker released on bond after arrest during signing of GOP voting bill

Photo: Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon (D) was released on bond late Thursday after being arrested and forcibly removed from the Capitol for attempting to knock on the door of Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who was in the process of signing a sweeping GOP-sponsored bill to curb voting access.

Why it matters: The video of Cannon's arrest went viral Thursday night, as Georgia again became ground zero for the national debate over voting rights.

Georgia activists call for Coca-Cola boycott over GOP voting restrictions

Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Activists in Georgia are calling for a statewide boycott of Coca-Cola until the company speaks out against measures moving through the state legislature that would restrict voting access, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Driving the news: The massive Atlanta-based company said in a statement that it supports a "balanced approach to the elections bills that have been introduced in the Georgia Legislature this session," adding: "The ultimate goal should be fair, secure elections where access to voting is broad-based and inclusive."