Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is leading a lawsuit that aims to reform Georgia’s voting system as a whole. The lawsuit argues that the overall effect of the various voting regulations and policies is that voters, especially voters of color, are prevented from casting their ballot. The issues the lawsuit targets specifically are: strict voter purges; strict yet flawed “exact match” policies; outdated voter database; outdated machinery; inaccurate voter registration rolls; lack of oversight regarding provisional ballots; and improper dissemination, processing, and counting of absentee ballots.
Unlike previous voting lawsuits, this lawsuit targets not a single voting issue, but instead identifies a large group of problems in an attempt to fix Georgia’s broken voting system as a whole. The suit argues that the culmination of these issues violates the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the due process and equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This gives the courts the discretion to put Georgia’s voting system under federal supervision again.
Previous voting cases that target parts of Georgia’s voting system have been successful, including lawsuits that targeted Georgia’s “exact match” policy and issues involving absentee voting. A federal court has also implied that Georgia’s voting system raises security concerns that may cause the system to be unconstitutional.
This lawsuit puts pressure not only on the courts to ameliorate the effects of Georgia’s broken voting system before the 2020 election, but also on local officials to rectify the system. The lawsuit seeks to document and highlight how Georgia’s system disenfranchises voters and places unnecessary obstacles in the way of voting, especially for voters of color. If successful, the lawsuit aims to place Georgia’s voting system under federal supervision for up to 10 years.
Media Resources: Slate 11/27/18