Georgia Judge Strikes Down Part Of GOP Voter Suppression Law

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The Georgia state Republicans have instigated a whole set of restrictions that severely limit its people’s right to vote. The Heritage Party sent out the template for such laws immediately after Donald Trump lost the election. It is just another slow insurrection in the GOP’s overall plan to steal the elections from now until we are under a dictator, maybe the ex-president.

Georgia’s new election law stood against a lawsuit challenging limited ballot drop boxes, additional IDs to vote absentee, and a complete takeover of county elections by the Republicans. However, there was one exception.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee rejected the part of the law that forbade photographing or recording a completed ballot in his 39-page order. He found it to be a violation of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, freedom of speech. This was the first section of the 98-page voting law to be ruled invalid by a court.

Boulee upheld the rest of the law including the requirement that voters request absentee ballots at least 11 days before election day and a prohibition on election observers communicating information to anyone other than election officials, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

‘The court recognizes that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy that should be granted sparingly, especially when it enjoins enforcement of a statute, but finds it is appropriate here given the constitutional rights at stake and plaintiffs’ satisfaction of the requisite burden.’

Coalition for Good Governance, an election security organization, sued Georgia contesting the new voting law, Senate Bill 202, according to The Legislative Navigator. There were also seven pending suits opposing the new law. That included a case by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The section of the law that was extracted during the election security organization’s lawsuit was:

‘The restriction on photography would have prohibited election observers, journalists and the public from recording an image of a ballot at any point in the voting process, including while vote-counting takes place and during recounts.’

However, it was still illegal to photograph ballots in polling places while people were voting, according to another Georgia law. Judge Boulee wrote that the state’s attorneys did not justify the “blanket prohibition” on photography.

Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance Marilyn Marks released a statement that read, according to ABC News:

‘The Court’s striking of the Photography Ban was an important first step in demonstrating that SB202 is an overreach by lawmakers who prefer ballots to be counted behind closed doors, blocking the important oversight of the press and public.’

Top defendant in the suit, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, said he was sure that most of Georgia’s voting law will stand:

‘This decision is a clear victory for Georgia voters and an acknowledgment that the critical safeguards put into place after last year’s election are reasonable and do nothing to make voting harder.’

House Speaker David Ralston wrote on Twitter:

‘After careful scrutiny, the federal court upheld the key provisions of SB 202 that expand access to early voting and improve security of our election process. Great day for Georgia!’

To read the judge’s full order, go to The Cloud Document.


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