A federal judge denied a motion to halt the implementation of parts of Georgia’s new voting law on Wednesday, just days before the state legislature’s runoff elections.
US District Judge J. P. Boulee declined to block parts of SB202, citing the request’s timing as a problem with already-conducted runoff elections and the fact that it would change rules for already-conducted elections. On July 13, runoff elections for two Georgia House seats will be held.
The motion went on to say that the lawsuit was filed three months after SB202 was signed into law.
“We are at the juncture where all of the challenged provisions are already the law. Therefore, an injunction would not merely preserve the status quo; rather, it would change the law in the ninth inning,” wrote Boulee.
The judge did leave room for broader decision on the law in the future: “The Court reserves judgment regarding the propriety of relief as to future elections and will issue a separate order on this question at a later date.”
The Georgia law requires new voter ID for absentee ballots, gives state officials the power to take over local election boards, restricts the use of ballot drop boxes, and makes it illegal to approach voters in line and offer them food or water.
The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Georgia for new voting restrictions enacted as part of Republican efforts across the country to restrict voting rights in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s election loss.
The Coalition for Good Governance filed a lawsuit against Georgia’s new voting law earlier this year. Their lawsuit claims that the law violates the Voting Rights Act and infringes on voters’ First Amendment rights. Several civil rights and voting rights organizations have also filed lawsuits to overturn the new voting law.