Another Federal Judge Lays The Smackdown On Case Of Georgia Voting Rights

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Although voting in the midterm elections has concluded, their ramifications continue to reverberate. In Georgia, Democrats and Republicans are continuing to hassle each other over voting rights, and a federal judge has now delivered another ruling in voters’ advocates’ favor. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones demanded that all counties in Georgia include absentee ballots with errors in the voter’s birth date, a demand which could add well over 1,000 votes to the final count — and it’s unclear how high that number could go.

The addition would not, on its own, be enough to put Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams over the top and force either a run-off or a recount, even if every one went to her. The Abrams campaign is continuing, however, to seek to overturn the voter suppression agenda enacted by her challenger, Republican Brian Kemp, in his role as Georgia Secretary of State. The ruling from Judge Jones comes after a judge had already demanded that absentee ballots with errors in the birth date be counted in Gwinnett County specifically, which is outside Atlanta.

There, another race is unfolding, with Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux losing in her Congressional bid to incumbent Republican Rob Woodall by around 500 votes as of Thursday. That margin does not take into account a number of absentee ballots affected by the above mentioned orders, although it does include a number of provisional ballots that were added to totals just this week — a move that narrowed the gap between the two candidates by hundreds of votes.

The back and forth doesn’t stop there. Jumping back to the statewide level, this past Monday, a federal judge demanded that elections officials review tens of thousands of provisional ballots — as many as 27,000, to be exact — that had been cast after voters’ couldn’t sufficiently verify their identity at the polls. If a portion of those went to Abrams, it would definitely be enough to close the gap between her and Kemp and force at least a recount — but that case was still pending as of early Thursday.

The earliest a final state tally of votes could be certified is Friday afternoon.

The state isn’t alone in struggling with final vote counts. In Florida, too, Thursday, counties finished up a machine recount of three statewide races, including to be the state’s next governor, U.S. Senator, and Commissioner of Agriculture.

Not all counties could meet the deadline, and legal challenges similar to the ones brought in Georgia have emerged in Florida. The campaign of incumbent Senate Democrat Bill Nelson, for instance, has filed suit to try and force absentee ballots to be counted even if elections workers had dismissed them over a signature mismatch.

On the other side, Republicans have sued county elections officials where votes for Democrats have been reported late, and they — including President Donald Trump — have alleged fraud where there isn’t any evidence of any such thing.

The respective battles are unfolding as Democrats continue to bask in the glow of their victories in Congressional races. They picked up dozens of House seats, and two Senate seats, although they lost others.

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