(Headline USA) A federal judge has rejected motions to dismiss eight lawsuits waged against Georgia’s sweeping new election reforms.
Democrats, anti-integrity activists and other critics have baselessly claimed it infringes on the rights of voters and will disproportionately disenfranchise people of color, with President Joe Biden calling it “Jim Crow on steriods.”
State officials reject that criticism, saying Georgia’s election laws are reasonable, don’t discriminate and are in line with election laws around the country.
The state officials named—as well as pro-integrity groups that joined the suits as defendants—filed motions to dismiss.
U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee, however, issued orders Thursday allowing all eight lawsuits to proceed, and said that since they mostly involve the same defendants, facts and legal issues, he may consolidate them, at least for discovery purposes.
Boulee, a Trump appointee, rejected arguments that the plaintiffs didn’t have the right to sue, hadn’t stated any particular harm suffered or hadn’t justified the relief they’re seeking.
“This is a huge step in our fight to protect voting rights for Georgians and voters across the country,” Marc Elias said in an email. The notorious Democrat attorney filed the first suit in Georgia and is challenging GOP-backed election laws in other states.
Most of the lawsuits allege that the new law discriminates against voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act by:
- enacting new identification requirements for absentee voting
- shortening the time period for requesting absentee ballots
- restricting the use of unmonitored absentee-ballot drop boxes, many of which were funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the counties surrounding Atlanta and other deep-blue bastions.
- restricting the use of provisional ballots for voters who show up at the wrong precinct
- banning the handing out of food and water to people waiting in line to vote
One lawsuit also challenges a new process for the State Election Board to remove county election officials, as well as other provisions it claims violate free speech rights.
“Georgia’s anti-voter law makes it harder to vote for Georgia’s citizens of color and citizens with disabilities, and we look forward to continue to fight this law in court,” American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia attorney Rahul Garabadu said by email.
State officials vowed to keep fighting.
“We look forward to continuing to vigorously defend Georgia’s commonsense election law,” Kara Richardson, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Chris Carr, said in an email.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press