Federal judge declines to block portions of Georgia election law
A federal judge in Georgia declined to strike down portions of the state’s controversial voter law ahead of run-off elections slated for next week.
The decision from U.S. District Judge Jean-Paul “J.P.” Boulee, a Trump appointee, did not weigh in on some of the most controversial aspects of the law, nor did it strike down a portion of the statute that changes the deadline for requesting absentee ballots. It also did not a provision on election observation.
The Georgia law passed in March along party lines imposes restrictions that voting rights groups say will fall most heavily on minorities. The measure sets new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, limits drop boxes and even prohibits passing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
Boulee said in Wednesday’s ruling that because the plaintiffs are seeking to challenge the voting law ahead of a run-off election, doing so would “change the election administration rules for elections that are already underway.”
The judge added that Wednesday’s ruling does not rule out striking down other aspects of the law at a later date, writing that he “reserves judgment regarding the propriety of relief as to future elections.”
The ruling was in response to a narrow motion from the Coalition for Good Governance, which comes as Georgia is facing numerous challenges to its new voting law, including a lawsuit from the Department of Justice filed last month.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the suit “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, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
Georgia Republicans have argued that the new voting law was needed to protect the integrity of elections.
President Biden was the first Democratic nominee to win Georgia in almost three decades.