Man, I know the Georgia GOP is probably tired of the Abrams sisters right about now. Stacey Abrams’ work in combating voter suppression was essential in turning the state blue, and her sister, a federal judge, has blocked an attempt to purge over 4,000 voters from the rolls ahead of the state’s Jan. 5 runoff election.
I can’t help but imagine Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) reacting to the ruling by flipping a desk and yelling “They keep letting those coloreds vote and I’m fucking sick of it!”
According to Politico, U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ruled in favor of Majority Forward, the voting rights group that brought forth the suit. The organization, represented by National Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias, filed the suit after voting boards in Muscogee County and Ben Hill County attempted to purge their voting rolls using data from the U.S. Postal Service’s publicly accessible change-of-address records.
Muscogee County, which President-elect Joe Biden won in November, attempted to purge over 4,000 registered voters. Ben Hill County, which President-reject Trump won by a wide margin, attempted to purge only 150 voters.
Interesting how that all worked out.
“Failure to grant the injunctive relief could result in eligible voters being denied the right to vote, voters who would otherwise exercise their constitutional right to vote being intimidated or discouraged from doing so, or eligible voters being forced to go to extraordinary lengths during the holiday season and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to prove that they are eligible to vote,” Gardner wrote in her ruling, according to CBS News.
“While the court acknowledges that an injunction may burden defendants in their role managing the ongoing election, the harm to voters whose right to vote is wrongfully impeded or denied is far greater,” she added.
The thing that defines the current-day GOP is cruelty and incompetence, and that last one came into play here. See, these challenges weren’t filed by attorneys, legal scholars, or anyone who generally knows the law. It was just regular-ass citizens doing their part to suppress the vote.
The challenge in Muscogee County was filed by a local voter named Ralph Russell earlier in December and was simply based on him looking at publicly available but unverified information and going, “they can’t vote no more.” I’m not even being reductive right now, that’s pretty much what happened.
“I believe that each of the individuals named ... as a result of registering their name and change of address to a location outside of Muscogee County, removed to another state with the intention of making the new state their residence,” Russell told the county board. “Thus, each individual has lost their residence in Muscogee County, and consequently, each individual is ineligible to vote in Muscogee County.”
See? I told you.
The Muscogee board voted 3-1 in favor of Russell’s motion on Dec. 16, despite no additional evidence being presented and Russell not even attending the meeting. The board ruled that voters on Russell’s list would have to vote via provisional ballot and provide evidence of their residency.
The situation was more or less the same in Ben Hill County, where the board voted 2-1 in favor of a challenge presented by Tommy Roberts, a city councilman in Fitzgerald, Ga. Similarly, Roberts’s challenge was based on change-of-address data, and the board still backed the challenge even though they were told that it wouldn’t likely hold up in a court of law. Gardner even noted this in her ruling, writing “Despite this advice from the County Attorney, the Ben Hill Board voted to find that there was probable cause to sustain the challenges.”
Oof. That just read like a Black mom hitting you with, “You knew damn well you had no business being over there,” before telling you what your punishment is and adding “you lucky I didn’t beat your little hard-headed ass.”
Hard-headed is exactly what their asses were, as the Muscogee board filed a motion requesting Gardner recuse herself from the case due to her sister’s notable efforts to combat voter suppression in the state. How does one present getting more people to vote as a bad thing without realizing they might, in fact, be the baddies?
Lawyers for the board, described Abrams as “a Georgia politician and voting rights activist who was the Democratic candidate in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election and has since engaged in various highly publicized efforts to increase voter registration and turnout for the 2020 general election in Georgia.”
The motion requesting Gardner’s recusal noted that a voter registration group affiliated with Abrams, Fair Fight, filed a suit in another federal court in Georgia last week complaining that a national organization dedicated to targeting voter fraud, True the Vote, is making unjustified challenges to Georgia voters in the lead-up to the Jan. 5 runoffs.
“Abrams’ involvement in the Fair Fight Litigation ... is sufficient to satisfy the standard for mandatory judicial recusal,” the board’s attorneys wrote. “Abrams has a clear interest in the outcome of this proceeding and other similarly situated litigation in Georgia due to her voting advocacy through projects such as Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project.”
Gardner declined to withdraw from the case and noted the request for her recusal in her ruling. “The Court has reviewed the motion and finds no basis for recusal. An Order detailing the Court’s reasoning is forthcoming,” she wrote.
Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff election will take place on Jan. 5 and will see Jon Ossoff (D) go against Sen. David Purdue (R), and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) take on Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R). Senate Republicans currently hold 50 seats in the Senate. Should Ossoff and Warnock win, there will be a 50-50 party split in the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris being the tie-breaker vote.