Georgia Tells Judge GOP Runoff Suit Based on ‘Theoretical Fears’

Georgia Tells Judge GOP Runoff Suit Based on ‘Theoretical Fears’

December 17, 2020

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Georgia’s Republican elections chief asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit by state GOP officials seeking to alter signature-matching rules for mail-in ballots in the Jan. 5 runoff election, which will determine control of the U.S. Senate.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 10 by the Georgia Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is too late because it comes more than eight months after the rules were adopted by the state legislature, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Wednesday in a motion to dismiss it.

Raffensperger, maligned by President Donald Trump and other Republicans for defending Georgia’s elections procedures, said more than 300,000 mail-in ballots have already been received for the runoff, and that U.S. Supreme Court precedent bars courts from hindering elections when they’re underway.

“Any theoretical fear of injury that plaintiffs might have pales in comparison to the potential chaos and disruption that would result from the grant of the requested relief and the potential harm not only to county officials operating under limited resources, but also to voters who run the risk of having their ballots rejected due to last-minute changes in procedures,” Raffensperger said.

Groups backing Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both of whom face Democratic challengers in the runoffs, are also plaintiffs in the suit. They claim Georgia slacked on matching signatures for mail-in ballots, applying the rules “haphazardly and inconsistently” throughout the state.

But in his filing, Raffensperger said an analysis of the number of absentee ballots rejected for signature issues in 2020 compared to 2018 found the rate “was essentially the same” even though turnout “increased exponentially.”

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta scheduled a hearing for Thursday, when the plaintiffs will also seek a temporary restraining order against the state.

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