A federal judge has ruled that Georgia’s new election law can remain in effect, rejecting a challenge brought by a civil rights group and voting activists to stop the new voting measures, claiming they infringe on constitutional rights.
U.S. District Judge Jean-Paul Boulee, a Trump appointee, said in an order earlier this month that the voters and civil rights group had sought to change the rules in the middle of a run-off election for state House seats, blocking their request to stop the enforcement of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021, which was enacted in March.
“We are at the juncture where all of the challenged provisions are already the law. Therefore, an injunction would not merely preserve the status quo; rather, it would change the law in the ninth inning,” the judge wrote.
The Georgia law, enacted after the 2020 election, requires voters to have an ID to request an absentee ballot, limits drop boxes for absentee ballots and bans the distribution of food and drinks at polling sites.
It has been called a “voter suppression bill” by Democrats and liberal activists who say the changes are racistly based because they target minority voters who have to wait in longer lines to vote and may not have an ID.
The Coalition for Good Governance, a Colorado-based civil and voting rights group, claimed that the law violates the Constitution by placing a burden on the right to vote.
A spokesperson for the group said they are disappointed that the judge’s order left the measures in place for the state’s run-off election last week.
“We are pleased that the Court limited the order to the six July 13 runoffs. We sought relief for all upcoming elections,” said Marilyn Marks, who works with the Coalition for Good Governance. She noted that the election process already has begun for special elections in September.
Although the judge rejected the request for an injunction, the case is still ongoing. It’s one of a number of lawsuits challenging Georgia’s new voting requirements.
“This is just another in the line of frivolous lawsuits against Georgia’s election law based on misinformation and lies. We will continue to meet them and beat them in court,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Notably, the Justice Department under President Biden filed a lawsuit last month against the Georgia law, claiming it runs afoul of the Voting Rights Act and that the state has a history of discriminating against Black voters.
The Republican National Committee, the Georgia Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee moved to intervene in the lawsuit.
Judge Boulee also is overseeing that legal battle.
In a rare move, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee is holding a hearing Monday on the ground in Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock said his state has become “ground zero for sweeping voter suppression efforts.”
“Your vote is your voice, and your voice is your human dignity. And what we’re seeing in Georgia is an attempt to deny certain people of the ability to have their voices heard in our democracy — not only by denying people access to the ballot, but also the ability to have their voices counted,” Mr. Warnock said.