Georgia Voting Rights Case

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.

9 thoughts on “Georgia Voting Rights Case”

  1. My understanding is that a big issue in Georgia is that over 50,000 voter REGISTRATIONS are being held without processing them, on the pretense that the names on the registration are not a perfect match for some other name file, such as the driver’s license or other ID. This–the voter registration–I would think would have to precede any attempt to obtain the absentee ballot.

    Is that issue subsumed under this ruling, or has it been ruled on already, or is it the subject of a separate case also under consideration?

      1. It is a different lawsuit. The lawsuit you asked about is Civil. Action No. 1:18-cv-04727-ELR. The next activity in that case is scheduled for this Monday when the Plaintiff’s responsive pleading is due.

        1. It is astonishing to me (and distressing) that there are 50,000 voter registrations being held up for this long with election day around the corner. It seems that Brian Kemp may achieve his objective as Secretary of State, which is to prevent 50,000 people from voting for his opponent for Governor. And doing that with the complicity of the courts, which already ruled out that “matching” ruse once, but now agree that they need to try it again, dragging the process out past election day.

  2. The match problem is exacerbated by the diacritics used in names of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Nordic, Vietnamese, or Slavic linguistic origin, not to mention the problems of transliteration from non-Latin alphabets like Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Thai and Korean. Vietnamese can have two accents on a single vowel, one for vowel form and the other for tone. How many voter databases can accept the full Unicode character set?

    I wrote to genuine expert Mark Liberman (who runs the useful and entertaining Language Log blog, basically for the trade but largely accessible to rubberneckers). He took up my suggestion and added lots of other material in a post here.

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