A federal judge ruled on Friday that Georgia’s election procedures during the 2018 midterms, which were challenged by an organization aligned with the state’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, do not violate the constitutional rights of Georgia voters.
Writing for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Steve Jones, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, ruled that while “Georgia’s election system is not perfect,” the “challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the [Voting Rights Act of 1965].”
“In sum, this Court finds Plaintiffs have not met their burden under Section 2 of the [Voting Rights Act] to demonstrate that the Exact Match or citizenship verification processes renders Georgia’s elections not ‘equally open’ when considering the totality of the circumstances as required” by federal law, Jones wrote. “As a result, there has been no showing that the election system is not ‘equally open’ by Georgia’s compliance with federal law regarding matching processes.”
The lawsuit against the state was originally filed in November 2018 by the group known as Fair Fight Action, which serves as an affiliate of the Abrams-founded PAC Fair Fight. Among the allegations made by Fair Fight include “serious and unconstitutional flaws in Georgia’s elections process” relating to, as Breitbart summarized, “absentee ballots, voter registration, and voter list management.”
According to Breitbart, “The group alleged certain voting practices in the state disenfranchised racial minorities, but many of the claims had already been thrown out over the last four years, including claims related to ‘long lines, voting machines, inadequate poll worker training, ballot rejections and large-scale voter registration cancellations.'”
“One of the claims left hanging in the balance was that the state’s ‘exact match’ voter registration policy disproportionately affected black voters,” the Breitbart report continued. “Jones shot that down, writing, ‘Here, plaintiffs have not provided direct evidence of a voter who was unable to vote, experienced longer wait times, was confused about voter registration status.'”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who successfully ran against Abrams in the 2018 gubernatorial race and previously served as Georgia’s secretary of state, celebrated the Friday ruling as a humiliating defeat for Abrams’ bid to delegitimize the state’s election processes.
“From day one, Abrams has used this lawsuit to line her pockets, sow distrust in our democratic institutions, and build her own celebrity,” Kemp wrote on Twitter. “Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals.”
In her own statement, Abrams attempted to use the ruling as justification for why Georgia voters should elect her as governor instead of Kemp in November, saying that it “demonstrates that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices.”
“The conduct of this trial and preceding cases and legislative actions represent a hard-won victory for voters who endured long lines, burdensome date of birth requirements and exact match laws that disproportionately impact Black and Brown voters,” Abrams said.
Following her 2018 loss to Kemp by roughly 55,000 votes, Abrams has repeatedly denied the Georgia Republican’s legitimate victory and has gone on to blame her failures as a candidate on nonexistent voter suppression. After it became obvious that she would not force then-candidate Kemp into a runoff in 2018, for instance, Abrams told a crowd of supporters that “concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper” and that “as a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede.”
“Make no mistake, the former Secretary of State was deliberate and intentional in his actions,” she said. “I know that eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired effect on the electoral process in Georgia.”
The Georgia Democrat went on to echo similar sentiments in April 2019, saying that she does “not concede that the process was proper” and that she does not “condone that process.”
In addition to her imaginary role as Georgia’s rightful governor, Abrams has been at the forefront of attacking the state’s recently enacted election law. In March 2021, Abrams referred to state Republicans’ efforts to enhance the integrity of Georgia’s elections as “nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0” and accused lawmakers of using the bill to “suppress the vote and seize electoral power.”
Around the same time, President Joe Biden also repeated the same “Jim Crow” smear and encouraged the MLB to move its 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta to protest the signing of the bill into law. The weak-kneed league commissioner ultimately acquiesced, moving the event to Colorado and costing Georgian businesses approximately $100 million in revenue.