Obama-appointed Georgia judge, Stacey Abrams’ sister, halts voter purge before Senate runoffs
An Obama appointed U.S. District Judge named Leslie Abrams Gardner has just ruled against the purge of 4,000 voters from state rolls before the Senate runoffs. She’s a Democrat and the sister of activist Stacey Abrams. The judge refused to recuse herself from the crucial election case.
The ruling comes after two counties voted to remove a large number of voters’ names from their rosters after two separate complaints alleged that publicly available voter registration data matched unverified change-of-address records by the U.S. Postal Service. This is resulting in claims of voter fraud.
The complaints were filed in Muscogee and Ben Hill counties. Politico is reporting that they failed to prove that the voters had actually given up Georgia residences.
Marc Elias, the Democratic Party attorney whose group Democracy Forward filed the lawsuit challenging the purges, called Gardner’s decision a “blow to GOP voter suppression.”
The judge’s ruling stated that removing thousands of voters from the rosters appeared to violate a federal law that requires a voter to be given an opportunity to provide written confirmation of a change of address prior to being removed from the list. In addition, the necessary protocols for purging the roster were not followed within 90 days of a federal election.
“Where the issue concerns a voter’s change of address, as in this case, the NVRA [National Voter Registration Act of 1993] prohibits the removal of that voter unless the voter confirms in writing that he or she has moved outside of the county or does not respond to a notice and has not voted in two federal election cycles,” the ruling stated.
The Muscogee County board filed a motion prior to Gardner’s ruling asking her to recuse herself from the case because of her sister, a strong ally of President-elect Joe Biden and an advocate who has “engaged in various highly publicized efforts to increase voter registration and turnout for the 2020 general election in Georgia,” according to the motion. Stacey Abrams has been accused of numerous instances of voter fraud in this election.
Abrams is the founder of The New Georgia Project and is also affiliated with the voting group Fair Fight, both of which have been in the midst of litigation over voter rights challenges.
Earlier in December, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger launched investigations into several groups, including The New Georgia Project, for seeking to “aggressively” register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” before the state’s Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, after a resident complained of getting several postcards from the group to register voters who were dead.
Fair Fight filed a suit in a Georgia court alleging that an advocacy group against voter fraud, True the Vote, had wrongfully challenged the validity of some Georgia voters ahead of the runoffs, which will decide the balance of power in the Senate.
Gardner reviewed the request for recusal and unsurprisingly said she found no reason for doing so.
Everything is at stake in the Georgia runoff. Republicans must hold onto both seats to retain control of the Senate. If they lose both, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast the deciding vote and the power in the Senate will be the domain of the liberals. They will effectively control two out of three branches of the federal government… the executive and the legislative branches. That will give them free rein to basically pass any legislation they like.