Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post.
The Georgia Secretary of State is Defending at least Five Voting Rights Lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Atlanta:
1. Georgia Muslim Voter Project v Kemp, 1:18cv-4789, has a Hearing on October 23rd. This ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Georgia’s Procedure when an Application for an Absentee Ballot is received, and the Election Official believes the Signature on the Application doesn’t Match the Signature on the Voter Registration Form. Although the Law requires the Applicant to be Informed, there is No Requirement that the Applicant be Informed in Time to do anything about the Problem before the Current Election.
2. Martin v Kemp, 1:18cv-4776, has a Hearing on October 23rd. This Lawsuit challenges State Procedures when a Mail Ballot is Received and the Signature on the Outer Envelope doesn’t seem to Match the Signature on the Voter Registration Form. As is the Case for Absentee Ballot Applications, the Election Official is Required to Notify the Voter that the Ballot has been Rejected, but there is No Requirement that this be done Timely.
3. Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda v Kemp, 1:18cv-4727, has a Hearing on October 29. This is the Case over Georgia’s Slow Pace of Processing Voter Registration Applications, when there is a Tiny Discrepancy between Information on the Application and Information already in State Databases.
4. Cowen v Kemp, 1:17cv-4660. This is the Libertarian Party Ballot Access Challenge to the 5% Petition for U.S. House Candidates. This Case will not be Settled until 2019. Georgia Attorneys have been so busy with other Election Law Cases, they have Postponed Depositions in the Ballot Access Case Three times, and New Deposition Dates still aren’t set.
5. Curling v Kemp, 1:17cv-2989. This is the Case that Challenges the Vote-Counting Machines for not having a Paper Audit Trail. Although it won’t be Settled in time for the 2018 Election, the Plaintiffs are pressing for an Expedited Process.
There is also a Consolidated Challenge to the State House District Maps.
A Panel of Federal Judges said Georgia can continue using Current District Lines Pending the Outcome of a Lawsuit alleging Racial Gerrymandering in Two State House Districts. The Federal Lawsuit says the Republican-led Legislature Unconstitutionally Drew the Metro Atlanta Districts in 2015 to Increase the Percentage of White Voters and Decrease the Percentage of Black Voters.
The Majority Opinion issued a Three-Judge Panel calls the Evidence raised in the Lawsuit "compelling" but says it falls Short of Documenting intent to Depress Black Voter Strength. For that reason, the Opinion says, "it's not appropriate to issue a preliminary injunction to keep the redrawn boundaries from being used while the lawsuit is pending."
In 2014, Two White Republicans, Joyce Chandler in Gwinnett County and Brian Strickland in Henry County, were narrowly Re-Elected over Black Democratic Challengers. Both approached the Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office and the Chair of the House Reapportionment Committee, to discuss Redrawing their Districts to Increase their Chances of Re-Election, the opinion says.
The Changes were Approved by the General Assembly in 2015. Those Changes were not Pre-Cleared with the Justice Department because a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court Decision had Lifted that Requirement. The Lawsuit Challenging the Redistricting was filed in April 2017 on Behalf of the Georgia Conference of the NAACP and Individual Residents.
A Panel composed of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Beverly Martin, U.S. District Judges Timothy Batten and William Duffey on June 1st Declined to Grant a Preliminary Injunction. "Given the majority's findings that our case was 'compelling' and that the General Assembly's mid-decade redistricting was not 'fair' to African American voters in Districts 105 and 111, the court should have restored the district boundaries as we requested," Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Chief Counsel Jon Greenbaum wrote.
The Lawsuit was filed against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
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