Georgia Court Issues Another Defeat To GOP With Latest Dismissal

0
614

On Thursday — Christmas Eve — Fulton County, Georgia’s Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams dismissed a Republican lawsuit in which plaintiffs sought to force the closure of absentee ballot drop-boxes outside of normal business hours, among other demands. Closing ballot drop-boxes outside of normal business hours could clearly result in unfairly fewer opportunities for voters to make their voices heard. What if certain working class voters can’t even reasonably get to a ballot drop-box until outside of normal business hours? Democrats tend to rely on mail-in/ absentee voting more than Republicans, so any impediment to the process could disproportionately impact Dems.

Adams “ruled that she doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case because of sovereign immunity protections that prevent governments from lawsuits,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains. Under current rules, drop-boxes for mail-in ballots are open for voters 24 hours a day under video surveillance. The lawsuit trying to limit the accessibility of drop-boxes had official Republican Party backing, with the Republican National Committee and Georgia Republican Party as plaintiffs.

Russ Willard, a senior assistant attorney general for the state of Georgia, commented as follows regarding the Republican effort:

‘The public has confidence that the rules of the game will not be altered to indulge the needs of a political party who is trying to benefit their particular candidates. Plaintiffs want to poke at the bear and adjust the election machinery when we only have one week of early advance voting and one week of absentee voting left to go.’

The defeat is the fourth recent court loss for Georgia Republicans, who’ve tried and failed to curtail voting accessibility in Georgia. In another recent failed lawsuit, plaintiffs — including the campaigns of Georgia’s two incumbent Republican U.S. Senators, who are up for re-election — sought to lower the threshold for setting a mail-in ballot aside over a perceived signature issue, requiring only one instead of two election workers to conclude that there’s a problem before subjecting a ballot to a further verification process. Voters get an opportunity for fix perceived signature issues with their ballots, but what if they miss the notification from authorities that there’s a problem? What if these voters don’t even have a real opportunity to fix the problem because of a busy work schedule? Adding another layer to the process like Republicans wanted could clearly disenfranchise voters.