Northern District of Georgia Court Orders Full Counting of Absentee Ballots, Personal County-by-County Certification from Secretary of State

In an extraordinary victory for voting rights, Judge Steve C. Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, granting the Abrams for Governor campaign’s motion to require all counties statewide to accept absentee ballots with minor discrepancies. These are ballots which were cast in good faith by thousands of Georgians attempting to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and which were among the countless votes Brian Kemp attempted – but ultimately failed – to suppress in this year’s election. Judge Jones is the fourth Federal judge in the past three business days to find that portions of the Secretary of State’s administration of the 2018 election violate the United States Constitution.

The Abrams for Governor campaign issued the following statement in response:

“This is a major victory for Georgia voters and the Abrams campaign in the fight to ensure every eligible vote is counted and every voice is heard,” said Stacey Abrams for Governor Campaign Manager Lauren Groh-Wargo.“Under Brian Kemp’s watch as the nation’s foremost architect of voter suppression, countless Georgians have had substantial roadblocks placed in their path as they sought to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Now, the courts are doing what Brian Kemp’s Secretary of State office refused to – upholding and protecting Georgia’s rights and underlining the need for free and fair elections in a state that has suffered from an acute assault on voting rights engineered by none other than Secretary of State Brian Kemp.” 

With regards to the additional motion requested, the court was unable to grant relief to thousands of voters who were forced to cast provisional ballots. Hampered by shoddy record keeping as orchestrated by Brian Kemp, counties simply did not maintain the documentation that would have been necessary to ensure that every eligible vote cast was a vote counted. Judge Jones also appropriately refuted the defendant’s weak claim that the Democratic Party of Georgia should have filed motions regarding these widespread voter suppression tactics prior to Election Day. Nonetheless, the court was unable to grant immediate relief regarding the widespread irregularities and challenges faced by voters forced to cast provisional ballots out of county.


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