Democrats across the country have been largely united in opposition to Georgia’s latest election reform laws and voting rights activists have filed multiple lawsuits seeking to block or reverse those changes.
One such lawsuit sought an immediate injunction against certain provisions in the new state law ahead of two state House runoff elections set for later this month — but a federal judge rejected that request.
Judge hands down ruling
According to the Washington Times, the Coalition for Good Governance targeted just a few specific provisions of the broad law enacted earlier this year.
Nevertheless, the judge appointed by former President Donald Trump chided the group for bringing its challenge at the last minute and after elections leading up to the runoffs had already taken place.
District Judge Jean-Paul Boulee issued an 11-page ruling that referenced the five provisions challenged by plaintiffs in the case.
Specifically, the Coalition for Good Governance opposed restrictions on election observers that prohibited seeking how someone voted, taking pictures that could reveal such information, sharing it with anyone other than election officials, and tallying or estimating how people voted via absentee ballot.
The suit also challenged a separate provision requiring applications for absentee ballots to be made no less than 11 days prior to an election.
“Line of frivolous lawsuits”
Much of Boulee’s decision hinged on a U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in 2006 in the case of Purcell v. Gonzalez, which states that “a court should ordinarily decline to issue an injunction — especially one that changes existing election rules — when an election is imminent.”
Doing so, the nation’s highest court determined, could cause “voter confusion” and dissuade Americans from participating in the impending election.
Calling out the “significant problem” with the plaintiff’s timing, the judge determined that “the underlying elections have already occurred” and that an injunction would change the rules for related runoff races.
Furthermore, Boulee asserted that the arguments in the complaint did 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 an election.”
GOP Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger touted the court decision in a statement, declaring: “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.”