A federal judge has upheld multiple provisions of a Georgia voting integrity law.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, presided by Judge J.P. Boulee, upheld the provisions of Georgia’s Election Integrity Law that were challenged by an organization that mails absentee ballot applications to potential voters that had been pre-filled.
VoteAmerica filed a lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to invalidate provisions of the measure that introduced restrictions for companies or persons that mail prefilled absentee ballot applications to prospective voters.
The measure, Georgia SB 202, was signed into law by Republican Governor Brian Kemp in May 2021. It has three sections that impose further constraints on such ballot applications.
The legislation prohibits third-party organizations from mailing absentee ballot applications with the voter’s needed information already completed. They are also barred from mailing absentee ballot applications to people who have previously requested one.
Further, the absentee ballot applications must include the following disclaimer printed on the front of the form: “This is NOT an official government publication and was NOT provided to you by any governmental entity and this is NOT a ballot. It is being distributed by [insert name and address of person, organization, or other entity distributing such document or material].”
The court ruled with Raffensperger and the RNC, determining that the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were not harmed and that they did not fulfill the requirements for obtaining an injunction against the legislation.
“Further, this Court finds that combining speech (in the cover information) with the conduct of sending an application form, as Plaintiffs do here, is not sufficient to transform the act of sending the application forms into protected speech,” the court wrote. “Plaintiffs’ pro-absentee voting message is not necessarily intrinsic to the act of sending prospective voters an application form.”
The court stated that the state’s disclaimer “simply presents information designed to reduce voter confusion regarding absentee ballot applications provided by third parties and to relieve election officials of the administrative burdens resulting from such confusion.”
“Third parties who may not be aware of these proceedings are presumably already preparing to distribute ballot application forms bearing the current Disclaimer. A ruling requiring a different disclaimer could cause two different application forms to be in circulation,” the judge wrote. “Prospective voters who receive both versions of the form could be confused by the conflicting statements. The Court is also mindful of unintended consequences of late-breaking changes to the law.”
Another loss by Democrats in the Federal Courts. https://t.co/CKlAYanlik
— Cred (@red_hursh) July 1, 2022
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
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Republican lawmakers accused the state’s Democratic Attorney General John Stein is not properly defending the law from legal challenges brought by the NAACP and other groups who claim it violates the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. CONTINUE READING…