Georgia Runoff: Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Seeking to End Senate Elections in January

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A federal judge in Georgia dismissed a lawsuit filed earlier in December that aimed to stop the upcoming Senate runoff election on Jan. 5. Early voting for the crucial race, which will determine who controls the Senate, began more than two weeks ago.

On Dec. 28, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. denied a request by attorney L. Lin Wood Jr., who claimed Georgia’s processes for handling absentee ballots for the runoff was against state law, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

In his lawsuit, Wood criticized the state’s procedure for verifying signatures on absentee ballots. The attorney also took issue with Georgia’s plans to start processing absentee ballots before Election Day and its use of ballot drop boxes.

Judge Batten’s order stated the attorney “lacks standing to pursue his claims.” Wood’s claims of the possibility of voter fraud were “too speculative,” the judge found.

This was not the first lawsuit Wood filed against Georgia’s voting process. In an earlier suit, Wood claimed voter fraud in a bid to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election in the state. Biden managed to turn Georgia blue in November, winning the state’s 16 electoral votes.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wood’s lawsuit regarding Biden’s win was rejected by Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg. The judge noted that delaying the election’s certification could have invalidated 1.3 million absentee ballots. The lawsuit was later rejected by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and is now pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who has had to fight off voter fraud claims from his own party, welcomed the latest lawsuit dismissal.

“Since day one, I have been committed to upholding Georgia law and providing secure and reliable elections in Georgia,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Time and time again we have successfully fought off lawsuits from the right and the left looking to undermine rule of law in Georgia. The numerous baseless and frivolous lawsuits, funded by unsuspecting Georgians who are being duped by Wood, are just the latest in a long history of lawsuits to nowhere in Georgia.”

Early Voting Begins to Wind Down

There are just a few more days left in the early voting period for the runoff election. According to data collected by Georgia Votes, more than 2.3 million Georgia voters have cast their ballots in the runoff election.

The runoff election will determine which political party controls the Senate during the incoming Biden administration. Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are fighting off Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The two incumbents face further challenges after President Trump and the Democrat-held House have pushed to raise COVID-19 relief checks from $600 to $2,000. On Dec. 29, the two senators tweeted that they supported the president’s call for $2,000 checks. However, in doing so, they went against fiscal conservatism and their own party.

Democrats Ossoff and Warnock previously expressed their support for higher relief checks for the American people.

Important Dates

December 14-31: Early voting period for runoff election.

January 5, 2021: Runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats.

Action Steps

Vote: Early voting is underway across the state. Check where your polling station is here. Voters have through Dec. 31 to cast their early ballots. If voters have requested a mail-in ballot, they are encouraged to drop off those ballots as they may not arrive in time if they are mailed back. Voters who miss early voting can head to the polls on Election Day, which is on January 5, 2021.

Learn More: Head to Warnock For Georgia and Elect Jon to learn more about Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Volunteer and Donate: A number of dedicated voting rights organizations are doing critical work to get voters to the polls and make sure voters are not disenfranchised. Check out volunteering and donation opportunities for New Georgia Project, Rideshare2Vote, The Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Fair Fight.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.