Federal Judge Denies Injunction Request to Stop Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law

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A U.S. District Judge on Wednesday denied one group’s request that he issue a preliminary injunction against certain sections of Georgia’s new voter integrity law, Senate Bill 202.

The Coalition for Good Governance requested the injunction for the July 13 runoff election for Georgia State House District 34.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee of the Northern District of Georgia’s Atlanta Division, however, rejected the request.

“The underlying elections have already occurred, and plaintiffs seek an order that would mandate different rules for the related runoff elections,” Boulee ruled.

Coalition for Good Governance members said in their suit that the defendants, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, “are ill-prepared to administer the new rules.”

“[That] does not change the fact that 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,” Boulee wrote.

The plaintiffs asked for an injunction barring SB 202’s observation rule, which prohibits a person from intentionally observing an elector while the elector casts a ballot. The plaintiffs, among other things, also wanted an injunction on rules that prohibit photographing electronic ballot markers and that prohibit election monitors from communicating any information they see about the ballots.

Kemp signed the bill into law in March.

Boulee wrote that the plaintiffs waited almost three months after state legislators passed SB 202 into law.

“All of the challenged provisions are already the law,” Boulee wrote.

“Therefore, an injunction would not merely preserve the status quo; rather, it would change the law in the ninth inning.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger commented on the case on his Facebook Wednesday.

“This is just another in the line of frivolous lawsuits against Georgia’s election law based on misinformation and lies,” Raffensperger said.

“We will continue to meet them and beat them in court.”

Coalition for Good Government members, according to the group’s website, include President Lisa Cyriacks, Vice President and Executive Director Marilyn R. Marks, and Secretary Mary Eberle.

Marks told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that SB 202 endangers election transparency and integrity and she will continue to ask courts to act.

“We’re concerned about the voter confusion that will no doubt occur with these little-known rapid changes to the rules, including the required information on ballot applications and the short deadline for applications to be received in this last week before the election,” Marks reportedly said.

Georgia’s new voter integrity law requires voter ID on all absentee ballots, increases oversight of local election boards that fail to follow state election law, and secures drop boxes around the clock.

The November 2020 election, according to Kemp, saw a 350 percent increase in the use of absentee balloting, more than 1.3 million absentee ballots total compared to election day in 2018.

“This obviously led to local election workers having to process far more ballots using a time-consuming, labor-intensive and at times arbitrary process,” Kemp said earlier this year.

“By moving to a state-issued ID requirement instead of a signature match, Georgia will dramatically streamline the verification process on the absentee ballot.”

U.S. Justice Department officials, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, announced last month they will sue the Peach State over SB 202.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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