Federal judge blocks effort to invalidate parts of new Georgia voting law ahead of July runoffs
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Federal judge blocks effort to invalidate parts of new Georgia voting law ahead of July runoffs

A federal court judge on Wednesday denied a motion to stop the implementation of parts of Georgia’s new voting law, ahead of state legislature runoff elections next week.

In the ruling, US District Judge J. P. Boulee declined to block parts of SB202, saying the timing of the request presents a problem with runoff elections already ongoing and would change rules for elections that are already underway. The runoffs for two Georgia House seats are set for July 13.

The motion went on to say the filing came three months after SB202 had become law.

“We are at the juncture where all of the challenged provisions are already the law. Therefore, an injunction would not merely preserve the status quo; rather, it would change the law in the ninth inning,” wrote Boulee.

The judge did leave room for broader decision on the law in the future: “The Court reserves judgment regarding the propriety of relief as to future elections and will issue a separate order on this question at a later date.”

The Georgia law imposes new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.

The US Department of Justice is suing Georgia over the new voting restrictions enacted as part of Republican efforts nationwide to limit voting access in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

A lawsuit against Georgia’s new voting law brought by the Coalition for Good Governance earlier this year. Their lawsuit alleges the law infringes on voter’s First Amendment rights and is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. A number of civil rights and voting rights groups have also filed lawsuits challenging the new voting law.

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