A federal judge ruled against a voting rights group founded by Georgia Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams on Friday in a challenge to state election laws.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled against ‘Fair Fight Action’ over allegations regarding Georgia’s ‘exact match’ voter registration policy, absentee ballot voiding practices and recording inaccuracies.
“While Georgia’s electoral system is not perfect, the impugned practices do not violate the constitution or the VRA (Voting Rights Act). As the Eleventh Circuit notes, the federal courts are not “the arbiter[s] disputes” that arise during elections; this [is] not the role of the Federal Court to ‘supervise the administrative details of a local election,’” Jones wrote in the ruling.
Fair Fight filed a lawsuit right after the 2018 gubernatorial election and the case went to trial earlier this year. Fair Fight says it was the longest voting rights lawsuit on the Eleventh Circuit.
“Despite the many important pro-election developments that have already resulted from this case, we are nevertheless disappointed by the Court’s decision. In this moment of frustration, we are also here to remind the nation: litigation is just a tool to fight voter suppression,” Fair Fight Action Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid said in a statement. a statement.
“Today’s court decision is undoubtedly a significant loss for the voting rights community in Georgia and across the country. However, this does not undermine the tireless work that Fair Fight Action and our allies continue to undertake to support Georgian voters and ease the barriers they face in making their voices heard at the ballot box.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who is running for re-election, accused Abrams of trying to make money from the lawsuit and casting doubt on the election process. Kemp defeated Abrams in the 2018 Governor’s Race.
“Stacey Abrams and her organization lost in court – on every count. From day one, Abrams has used this trial to line his own pockets, sow distrust in our democratic institutions, and build his own stardom,” Kemp said in a statement.
“Judge Jones’ decision exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool used by a politician hoping to misarm the justice system to advance his own political goals. In Georgia, it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat – and I’ll keep working to make it that way.
Abrams said she would work to expand the franchise if elected governor.
“As Governor, I will expand the franchise. I will stand up for minority voters, I will not lament their increased power or become ‘frustrated’ with their success. This case demonstrates that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices,” Abrams said in a tweet.
The decision follows President Joe Biden’s narrow margin of victory in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won the state with less than 12,000 out of some 5 million votes.
It also comes as Georgia prepares to vote in one of the showpiece battles for the US Senate. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is running against former NFL star Herschel Walker, a Republican, whose outcome could determine which party controls the chamber next year.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called the decision a victory for election officials, saying the state’s elections have always been “safe, secure and accessible”.
“Allegations of stolen elections and voter suppression by Stacey Abrams were nothing more than poll-tested rhetoric unsupported by facts and evidence,” Raffensperger said in a statement.