X

Judge Strikes Down Part of Georgia Voting Law

But he declined to block numerous other provisions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 23, 2021 6:05 PM CDT
Judge Strikes Down Part of Georgia Voting Law
In this Jan. 5, 2021, photo, Fulton County Georgia elections workers process absentee ballots for the Senate runoff election in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge has found that a part of Georgia's sweeping new election law that broadly prohibits the photographing of a voted ballot is likely unconstitutional. US District Judge J.P. Boulee on Friday granted a preliminary injunction on that section of the law, meaning it cannot be enforced for now. In the same order, he declined to block a number of other provisions that mostly have to do with monitoring or photographing parts of the election process. From the AP:

  • Lawsuit was filed by election integrity group. The judge's order came in a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity group, and others. Boulee wrote that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit “have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim” that the broad ban on photographing a voted ballot in both public and nonpublic places violates their First Amendment rights.

story continues below

  • Other parts of the law. The new law, known as SB 202, also adds a voter ID requirement for mail ballots, shortens the time period for requesting a mail ballot, results in fewer ballot drop boxes available in metro Atlanta and gives the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials. There are currently eight federal lawsuits challenging parts of the 98-page law enacted earlier this year, including one filed by the US Department of Justice.
  • "An overreach by lawmakers." "The Court’s striking of the Photography Ban was an important first step in demonstrating that SB202 is an overreach by lawmakers who prefer ballots to be counted behind closed doors, blocking the important oversight of the press and public,” Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, said in a statement.

  • Other provisions allowed to stand. Boulee declined to block another photography provision that prohibits the photographing or recording of the face of a touchscreen voting machine while someone is voting. He also declined to block provisions that require that absentee ballots be requested at least 11 days before an election and prohibit observers from communicating any information they see during absentee ballot processing to anyone other than election officials.
  • Raffensperger calls it a win. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly said the law will stand up to court challenges. "This decision is a clear victory for Georgia voters and common-sense election integrity reforms," he said in a statement.
(Read more Georgia stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X