Hundreds of absentee ballots rejected in Atlanta, prompting legal challenge

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Election officials in a suburban Atlanta county have reportedly rejected hundreds of absentee ballots just weeks before the midterm elections, sparking legal challenges from voting rights advocates. 

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday night that data show more than 1,200 ballots have been rejected in Georgia and that Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta, has tossed 465 for reasons including signatures that do not match the ones on file, missing addresses and incorrect birth years.

“This is an unprecedented number of disqualifications, and it’s happening in a county where there are a number of contested races that have minority candidates on the ballot,” Andrea Young, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told the newspaper, adding that this is not an “isolated” incident. 

The Post noted that the ACLU filed a lawsuit against state and local election officials over this issue on Tuesday. 

It remains unknown why Gwinnett County, Georgia’s second-largest county, is rejecting the most absentee ballots in the state. But voting rights advocates have told the newspaper that a new law regarding information citizens must provide may have caused the problem. 

Nonetheless, Stephen Day, the chairman of the county elections board, has said that the board is looking into the matter. In addition, a spokeswoman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told the Post that his office is investigating the problem related to rejected ballots. 

The news comes roughly week after a report surfaced revealing that thousands of voter registration forms, mostly from African-American voters, are on hold in Georgia.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) and voting rights groups have placed blame on Kemp, who is running as the GOP nominee for governor, for the holds.

But Kemp’s office has pushed back hard against the accusations, saying that Abrams and other groups were playing political games. 

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