Federal Judge Tosses GOP Attempt To Restrict Drop Box Use For GA Runoff

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: A voter arrives at the Buckhead library in Atlanta on the first day of In-person early voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Atlanta, GA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: A voter arrives at the Buckhead library in Atlanta on the first day of In-person early voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Atlanta, GA. (Jason Armond /... ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: A voter arrives at the Buckhead library in Atlanta on the first day of In-person early voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Atlanta, GA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
December 17, 2020 1:16 p.m.

A federal judge quickly put an end to one of three Republican attempts to curtail absentee voting in the Georgia runoffs Thursday after a brief hearing by teleconference.

This one, lodged by Georgia’s Twelfth Congressional District Republican Committee against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other election officials, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. It sought to block the use of drop boxes, keep officials from opening ballots until Election Day and invalidate guidance from Raffensperger’s office about verifying signature matches.

“We are not even on the eve of an election,” said Judge J. Randal Hall during the hearing, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are, as it relates to this particular election, closing in on halftime.”

He added that absentee ballots had already been printed, mailed and in some cases, returned.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

He also found GOP claims that the rules facilitated voter fraud “highly speculative.”

Ultimately, he found that the plaintiffs lacked standing and rejected their emergency motion for a restraining order and injunction.

“These plaintiffs are asking me to do what the Supreme Court, and our Eleventh Circuit, have cautioned against,” he said, per Politico. “I am not willing to go there.”

Another lawsuit in federal court, brought by the Georgia Republican Party, National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), seeks to make signature matching procedures more restrictive. That is also due to be heard on Thursday.

A third suit, filed by the Republican National Committee and state Republican Party on the state level, seeks to limit drop box usage to the hours of the local election offices and make changes to how poll watchers operate. It’s still pending in Fulton County Superior Court.

As Republicans attempt to restrict voting at the eleventh hour, Georgia voters are already heading to the polls. Early in-person voting started with a record-shattering day Monday, and more than 378,000 voters have returned their absentee ballots.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: