State’s voting rights trial starts Monday
Monday is the big day for the start of a long-awaited voting rights trial that is considered one of the most prominent in recent years. The federal court case centers on allegations that Georgia’s election policies illegally obstructed voters from casting their ballots.
The lawsuit targets Georgia’s “exact match” voter registration rules and inconsistent absentee ballot cancellation practices, which the plaintiffs say created difficulties that disproportionately affected Black voters.
Voting problems and complaints from the 2018 and 2020 elections will be highlighted during the trial and various voters and election officials will testify under oath about their experiences. Fair Fight, a group Democrat Stacey Abrams founded following her loss to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 election for governor, plans to call voters as witnesses to tell their stories about how Georgia’s voting regulations either prevented them from voting or made it more difficult to do so.
The case has been building for 3½ years since it was filed by Fair Fight Action. It will now be decided by a judge as both candidates are running again.
The defendants in the case — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and state election officials — say they’ve already defeated many of the claims in earlier court rulings, leaving a narrow and flimsy case.
When opening arguments begin Monday, it will be the first voting rights case to go to trial in Atlanta’s federal court in at least a decade. The trial could last about a month and will feature dozens of witnesses, including dismayed voters, election officials and preachers. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is expected to testify by video.