(The Center Square) — A federal judge has denied a request to prevent Georgia officials from enforcing several elements of a state election law.
Opponents asked a federal judge to grant a summary judgment for five provisions of the state’s Election Integrity Act, which state lawmakers passed as part of Senate Bill 202 following the 2020 election. Groups sued, saying the provisions would make it harder for Black Georgians to vote in next year’s election.
Among the provisions plaintiffs wanted a judge to halt is requiring voters to show an ID with absentee ballot applications. They also asked the judge to prevent enforcement of regulating absentee ballot drop boxes and barring volunteers from handing out food and water to anyone waiting in line to vote, often called “line warming” or “line relief.”
In a ruling, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee said some statements plaintiffs cited in their case did not prove racial discrimination motivated the law. In his ruling, the judge notes that lawmakers considered other provisions not included in the final measure, such as eliminating weekend voting and nixing no-excuse absentee voting for people under 65.
In a statement, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said the ruling “confirmed what we’ve been saying all along,” that SB 202 “strengthens election integrity while increasing the opportunity for Georgia voters to cast a ballot.”
The plaintiffs vowed to keep fighting the measure.
“While we are disappointed by today’s decision, we remain fully committed to this challenge on behalf of our clients and all Black voters in Georgia,” George Varghese, a partner at WilmerHale, said in an announcement.