Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Judge Declines to Act on Georgia Voting Dispute

(CN) - The NAACP and other plaintiffs failed to prove state election officials did anything wrong by not processing over 56,000 registration applications before next week's election, a state judge in Georgia ruled this afternoon.

Fulton County Judge Christopher Brasher said there simply is not proof Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and authorities in several Georgia counties have not abided by the law.

In a complaint filed in the Fulton County (Ga.) Superior Court on October 14, 2014, plaintiffs led by NAACP's Georgia chapter, said a voter registration drive carried out between March to September, 2014, collected 81,606 applications from people wishing to vote.

They also said those applications were submitted to the appropriate boards of election on September 14, 2014.

Of the applications collected, 36,982 were submitted to Fulton County; 11,308 to DeKalb County; 6,742 to Chatham County; 11,222 to Muscogee County; and 3,157 to Clayton County.

However, as of the Oct. 6, 2014 deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election, the status of 56,001 applications was still uncertain.

In Georgia, county boards of registrar are responsible for determining whether an application to vote is valid, and when there are discrepancies, such as missing information, they are required, by law, to notify the registrant in writing of the issue.

If the applicant supplies the necessary information on or before the date of the election, they must be allowed to vote, the plaintiffs say.

But to date, they say, "The defendant Boards have failed to comply with their clear, unequivocal, and non discretionary duty to notify applicants who have not been placed on the Secretary's list of eligible voters that they have failed to provide all of the required information on their applications for voter registration."

Speaking from the bench, Judge Brasher declined to act on the case, calling the lawsuit "premature," and saying it "merely set out suspicions and fears that the [state officials] will fail to carry out their mandatory duties."

He noted the secretary of state and the counties in question have all indicated they are still processing applications, and therefore a lawsuit over the matter is "premature."

The plaintiffs have already said they are considering further legal action.

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