A federal judge declined to block Georgia’s new election law Wednesday before next week’s runoff elections, but he left open the possibility of doing so for future elections.
U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee ruled that making changes to the law prior to the special elections on July 13 could risk “disrupting the administration of an ongoing election,” The Associated Press reported.
The judge added that prohibiting the enforcement of the law “would change the law in the ninth inning.”
However, Boulee said that he will make a judgment on the challenged provisions for future elections at another time.
Liberal activists had sought to keep the state from enforcing sections of the new election law that dealt with observations of elections and deadlines for requesting absentee ballots.
The request is just one of eight federal lawsuits challenging the election law.
The challenged provisions of the election law were not the most commonly criticized since the law was enacted earlier this year.
Instead, it dealt with monitoring or photographing the election process.
The Coalition for Good Governance led the group of activists and said the provisions “criminalize normal election observation activities and could intimidate, voters, election observers and members of the news media,” according to the AP.
It also argued that the new absentee ballot request deadline of 11 days before an election made it hard to ensure an absentee ballot would be received prior to the certification of the election.
Lawyers for the state said the provisions are essential for election integrity.
Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, expressed disappointment in Wednesday’s ruling. “We’re concerned about the voter confusion that will no doubt occur with these little-known rapid changes to the rules,” she said, according to the AP.
However, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the challenge is “just another in a line of frivolous lawsuits” against the Georgia election law.
“We will continue to meet them and beat them in court,” he said.
Boulee is presiding over all eight lawsuits challenging the election law.
The law sets new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots and limits ballot drop boxes, among other things.
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