Georgia Voter Appeals on Absentee Ballots to Stay in Place

(Bloomberg) -- An Atlanta federal judge rejected Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s request to put on hold an order she issued last week giving voters the right to appeal the rejection of their absentee ballots over mismatched signatures.

That means local election officials won’t be able to throw out such ballots without giving voters a chance to confirm their identities.

Kemp, who’s running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams in the Nov. 6 election, argued the ruling would "introduce uncertainty and confusion under extreme time pressure at best." He asked for the ruling to be put on hold until a decision is made on his appeal.

"The court has already determined that violation of the right to vote establishes irreparable injury," because it can’t be undone through monetary relief, said Judge Leigh Martin May, an appointee of President Barack Obama. "Without injunctive relief, absentee voters whose applications or ballots are rejected due to a signature mismatch risk being completely disenfranchised."

The cases are Martin v. Kemp, 1:18-cv-04776, and Georgia Muslim Voter Project v. Kemp, 1:18-cv-04789, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

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