Political organization

Judge rules against Stacey Abrams organization in Georgia suffrage lawsuit

A federal judge ruled against an organization founded by Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, saying the state’s election practices do not violate constitutional rights.

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones’ decision marks the end of a four-year legal battle.

“Although the Georgian electoral system is not perfect, the contested practices do not violate the constitution or the [Voting Rights Act] VRA,” Jones wrote.

“Having held a trial without a jury and considered the evidence and arguments of the parties, for the foregoing reasons, the Court finds IN FAVOR of the defendants and against the plaintiffs.”

Fair Fight Georgia, which Abrams formed shortly after his narrow loss to Gov. Brian Kemp (right) in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race, filed a lawsuit asking the judge to make changes to the state’s electoral system, arguing that it suppresses voter turnout.

Abrams accused Kemp, who then served as secretary of state, of “mishandling” the election. In addition, she criticized the “exact match” law, which stipulated that voter registration forms had to be marked with a hold if the information did not exactly match the information recorded at the Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

Plaintiffs argued that Georgia’s electoral system violated the Constitution’s First and 14th Amendment rights to vote, a prohibition on racial discrimination in 15th Amendment voting, equal protection and due process under the law of the 14th amendment and ballot. Rights Act 1965.

The group argued that the State Election Commission and the Georgia Secretary of State provided inadequate training to county election officials on procedures for voiding mail-in ballots. They also alleged that the Secretary of State mismanaged the voter registration database.

Abrams’ organization filed a lawsuit with Care in Action, a nonprofit that advocates for domestic workers, and was joined by several churches.

The complaint was amended in December 2020 to name Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in his formal capacity as the state’s top election official.

The Associated Press reported that Abrams said she was disappointed with the decision, but added that the conduct of the trial represents a “hard-won victory” for voters who waited in long lines and endured “onerous date of birth requirements and exact match laws that disproportionately impact black and brown voters.”

Kemp said Abrams’ effort was “a tool used by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to advance his own political goals,” according to the AP.