Georgia Judge Declines to Halt State Voting Law During Lawsuit

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A federal judge declined to temporarily halt a new Georgia voting law that is being challenged in the courts, ruling that doing so would risk disrupting an upcoming runoff election.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee in Atlanta on Wednesday denied a request for an injunction sought by the Coalition for Good Governance, which argued that Georgia officials had overstated the risk such an order would pose to the July 13 contest. The judge didn’t rule on the merits of the case.

Concerns about “the risk of disrupting the administration of an ongoing election outweigh the alleged harm to plaintiffs at this time,” Boulee, a Donald Trump appointee, said in a brief ruling, adding that an injunction “would not serve the public’s interest.”

The ruling comes in one of several related suits challenging the law, including cases brought by the NAACP’s Georgia chapter and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. The groups and their Democratic supporters argue the new voting law is intentional discrimination inspired by Trump’s failed bid for reelection and his false claims that the election was stolen.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed it’s own suit against the Georgia law, which imposes new voter identification requirements, allows state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, shortens the absentee voting window and makes it illegal to approach voters in line to give them food and water.

Hundreds of such laws are being passed or considered in Republican-controlled states.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the law on March 25, joining other GOP officials in claiming it was necessary to prevent voter fraud. Dozens of federal judges and Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, have said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Bruce Brown, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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