Republicans Attempt To Lay Groundwork To Get GA Ballots Tossed With New Lawsuit

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: Voters wait in a long line to vote 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: Voters wait in a long line to vote 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, ... ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: Voters wait in a long line to vote 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
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December 18, 2020 11:12 a.m.

A group of Republicans including the Georgia state party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) reacted to a legal defeat Thursday by quickly lodging another lawsuit in federal court attacking a different part of the state’s election system.

The new lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, seeks to silo ballots cast by voters who registered after the November election from the rest, an attempt to lay the logistical groundwork for tossing those ballots later. A similar tactic was used by Republicans during the general election, though none of their ultimate challenges to those ballots was compelling enough for judges to invalidate them.

The Republicans argue that many of the voters who registered in Georgia since the November election — they put that number at 32,000, though they estimate that there are “likely thousands more” — are “new to the state.” They say that some of them voted in other states’ senatorial contests in the general election. That, they argue, is a violation of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition of “double voting.”

Still, they only found 425 voters who they allege fit that criterion (though they say there are probably “hundreds more”) — likely not enough to swing the election, even if a judge does agree with their argument.

The lawsuit calls for all incoming ballots to be segregated accordingly, and for all new registrants to be “investigated” to make sure they did not vote in a different Senate race in another state for the general election.

The suit is just Republicans’ newest attack on the voting process in Georgia, after two of their challenges were slapped down by federal judges on Thursday.

The same groups — the state party, Loeffler and Perdue, the NRSC — focused their first attempt, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, on making the signature matching process for absentee ballots more restrictive. The topic has become a point of fixation for President Donald Trump and the Republican dominos who resultantly care about what he does.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross dismissed that suit Thursday afternoon, saying that the plaintiffs lacked standing due to an argument “based in theories of potential future injuries.”

The other GOP loss happened in the Southern District of Georgia, where Judge Randal Hall dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Twelfth Congressional District Republican Committee to prohibit the use of drop boxes and keep election workers from processing absentee ballots until Election Day.

Hall also found that the plaintiffs lacked standing, but delved into their legal argument as well, concluding that their claims of the rules opening up the process to voter fraud were “highly speculative.”

He balked at the idea of changing election rules for a contest in which early voting has already begun.

“We are not on the eve of an election,” Hall said. “We are, as it relates to this particular election, closing in on halftime.”

There is another Republican challenge lodged by the RNC and state Republican party focused on restricting drop box use and changing poll watcher rules that is still pending in Fulton County Superior Court.

Read the newest lawsuit here:

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