Voting integrity activists argue several parts of Georgia’s new election law criminalize normal election observation activities, while the state argues that those provisions reinforce previous protections and are necessary for election security. A federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday on the activists’ request that he bar election officials from enforcing those provisions.
Georgia’s overhaul of election rules, like similar measures enacted this year in other GOP-controlled states, has received broad criticism from Democrats and others who say it makes it harder to vote, particularly for voters of color.
There are currently eight federal lawsuits challenging aspects of Georgia’s new law, including one filed last week by the U.S. Department of Justice. They mostly target parts of the law that critics say threaten voting rights. The hearing Thursday will focus narrowly on a handful of provisions and won’t address the most commonly criticized parts of the law. The challenged provisions mostly have to do with monitoring or photographing parts of the election process.
“These laws have the purpose and the effect of severely obstructing election transparency, degrading election security, and intimidating voters and members of the press who serve the vital role of providing citizen oversight of election administration,” the election integrity activists said in a court filing.