Today, the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of Georgia (per Leigh Martin May, J.) issued the following order protecting voter rights in Georgia. The full opinion is here. Here’s the operative text of the order:
The Secretary of State’s Office shall issue the following instructions to all county boards of registrars, boards of elections, election superintendents, and absentee clerks:
1) All county elections officials responsible for processing absentee ballots shall not reject any absentee ballots due to an alleged signature mismatch. Instead, for all ballots where a signature mismatch is perceived, the county elections official shall mark this ballot as provisional. See O.C.G.A. § 21-2-419. The county elections official shall then provide pre-rejection notice and an opportunity to resolve the alleged signature discrepancy to the absentee voter. This process shall be done in good faith and is limited to confirming the identity of the absentee voter. This process shall be done no later than three days following the election. The absentee voter shall have the right to appeal any absentee ballot rejection following the outcome of the aforementioned process, as designated in O.C.G.A. § 21-2-229(e).
2) All county elections officials responsible for processing absentee ballot applications shall not reject any absentee ballot application due to an alleged signature mismatch. Instead, for all ballot applications where a signature mismatch is perceived, the county elections official shall, in addition to the procedure specified in O.C.G.A. § 21-2-381(b), provide a provisional absentee ballot to the absentee voter along with information as to the process that will be followed in reviewing the provisional ballot. Yhe outer envelope of the absentee ballot provided shall be marked provisional. Once any provisional ballot is received, the procedure outlined in section 1 above is to be followed.
3) This injunction should apply to all absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots with designated signature mismatches submitted in this current election. This injunction does not apply to voters who have already cast an in-person vote.