A federal court concluded on Friday evening that Georgia’s election legislation does not violate the constitutional rights of voters, dealing a blow to Fair Fight Action, an organisation linked with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The decision was detrimental to Fair Fight Action.
Fair Fight Action had challenged Georgia’s absentee ballot provisions, oversight of voter rolls, and the state’s “exact match” law, which mandates that a voter’s name on their voter application be identical to their government identification, even in the case of hyphens or accent marks. U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones ruled against all of Fair Fight Action’s claims and dismissed the case. Fair Fight Action had challenged Georgia’s absentee ballot provisions, oversight of voter rolls, and According to the findings of a study conducted by The Associated Press, the bulk of the voter registration applications that were rejected in 2018 due to irregularities belonged to voters of colour.
In his 288-page opinion, Judge Jones said that “while Georgia’s election system is not flawless, the alleged actions violate neither the constitution nor the Voting Rights Act.” The judge, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, went on to say that the “burden on voters is quite minimal” and that Fair Fight Action could not produce “direct proof of a voter who was unable to vote, faced lengthier wait times, or was confused about voter registration status.”
The plaintiffs, a large number of whom were registered voters in Georgia, contended that the election in 2018 was distinguished by a variety of hurdles to access to the ballot that were defined by racial discrimination. Research conducted after the 2018 election in Georgia revealed that voters in majority-minority precincts had longer queues, defective poll equipment, and undertrained employees.
The executive director of Fair Fight Action, Cianti Stewart-Reid, issued a statement in which she referred to the verdict as “very detrimental to the voting rights community in Georgia and around the nation.”
Ms. Abrams, who founded Fair Fight in 2018 after losing her first run for governor to now-Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, by fewer than 60,000 votes, has been dealt a setback by the ruling, which brings to a close a four-year legal battle between the voting rights group and Georgia’s secretary of state. She has stated her belief that discriminatory election regulations were a part in her failure to win the race.
“In the very first phrase of his ruling, the court explains that “This is a voting rights dispute that resulted in victories and losses for all sides.” Despite this, the fight to empower voters rather than repress them continues, and the fight for access to the voting booth continues as well. I will not give up my efforts to guarantee that every person has the opportunity to vote, that every ballot is tallied, and that every voice is heard.
In a statement that was released in the evening on Friday, Mr. Kemp stated that the verdict “exposes this judicial attempt for what it truly is: a tool wielded by a politician trying to improperly weaponize the legal system to advance her own political purposes.”