A judge has upheld a crucial aspect of Georgia’s voting law pertaining to the window for requesting absentee ballots prior to Election Day.
“A federal judge denied an effort to invalidate parts of Georgia’s voting law Wednesday, the first court ruling upholding new election rules approved after last year’s elections,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee wrote in his order that he wouldn’t ‘change the law in the ninth inning’ amid ongoing runoffs for the state House,” the report said. “Boulee reserved judgment about future elections.”
“The lawsuit by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election security organization, opposed new requirements that voters request absentee ballots at least 11 days before election day, an earlier deadline that left voters with little time to vote by mail in the runoffs,” he noted. “The case also asked for court intervention to prevent restrictions on election observation that come with potential criminal penalties.”
“Election administrators have prepared to implement the challenged rules, have implemented them at least to some extent and now would have to grapple with a different set of rules in the middle of the election,” the judge wrote. “The risk of disrupting the administration of an ongoing election … outweigh the alleged harm to plaintiffs at this time.”
As AJC points out, the plaintiffs had “sought an injunction to halt enforcement of the voting law, Senate Bill 202, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed March 25.” It added that, “the case is different from the voting rights litigation filed last month by the U.S. Department of Justice that opposes voter ID requirements, ballot drop box limits, provisional ballot rejections and a ban on volunteers handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.”
In June, the Department of Justice has just announced that it is suing the state of Georgia over its new election laws, which include stronger voter ID measures and limitations on mass absentee voting that have been standard election practice in the United States for decades.
“In its first major action to combat GOP voter suppression laws, the Biden Justice Department announced on Friday that it is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting restrictions,” Mother Jones reported, which first reported the lawsuit.
“Today the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia,” Attorney General Merrick Garland announced at a press conference at DOJ headquarters.
“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia. Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color,” Garland claimed without being specific.
“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Garland said without explaining how Georgia’s law interferes with that right. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”
Gov. Brian Kemp has rightfully pointed out “there is nothing Jim Crow” about the Georgia law, since all eligible adult residents of the state are free to vote in the state’s elections.
“The lawsuit is being overseen by Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Vanita Gupta, the associate attorney general—two longtime civil rights lawyers with extensive records litigating against new restrictions on voting,” Mother Jones added.
“This is an outrageous abuse of power and politicization of the Justice Department – Joe Biden & Merrick Garland are now using the law enforcement power of the federal government to advance the Democrats’ false attacks on Georgia,” Senator Josh Hawley remarked. “This is wrong.”
The news follows a stunning judge’s decision in a lawsuit that gave Fulton County election officials “sovereign immunity” from being sued and exempting the county from aspects of a physical ballot inspection that would have proceeded under “discovery.”
“A judge dismissed most of a lawsuit Thursday seeking a deep inspection of Fulton County absentee ballots from last year’s presidential election, a review pursued by voters trying to find fraud,” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
“Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling jeopardizes the prospects for the ballot inspection to continue, though a plaintiff in the lawsuit said he believes it will soon move forward,” the report added.
However, the claimant Garland Favorito argued that the ruling contained a victory that could be seen as a silver lining.
“Favorito plans to submit a ballot inspection plan next week based on the judge’s order in May to unseal absentee ballots, allowing for high-resolution re-scans of ballots and an in-person review,” AJC noted.
“We just want Fulton to be held responsible,” Favorito said. “We could be moving forward any time now unless they try to stall again. Fulton may make a new desperation move to postpone it.”