Federal Judges Overturn GOP Voting Laws, Cause Massive Overhaul to Election Policy in Red States
Federal judges in Georgia and Texas have made significant rulings against key provisions of two controversial election laws passed two years ago. These laws were enacted by the Republican Party in an effort to tighten voting rules following former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential contest.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez struck down a provision of Texas’ law that required mail voters to provide the same identification number they used when registering to vote. This requirement was deemed a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, as it resulted in eligible voters being unable to cast their ballots due to an irrelevant matter.
The provision led to a significant increase in rejected mail ballots in the first election after the law’s passage, prompting a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“This ruling sends a clear message that states may not impose unlawful and unnecessary requirements that disenfranchise eligible voters seeking to participate in our democracy,” stated Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.
In Georgia, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee delivered a more mixed set of rulings. He temporarily prohibited officials from penalizing individuals who provide food and water to voters waiting in line, as long as they are more than 150 feet away from the voting building. Additionally, he blocked a requirement for voters to provide their birthdate on absentee ballot envelopes.
However, Boulee rejected claims from voting rights advocates that certain restrictions in the law hindered voters with disabilities from accessing absentee voting.
Both sides claimed victory following the ruling. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, stated that the court upheld key portions of the state’s law, emphasizing the accessibility of Georgia’s voting system. Civil rights groups who challenged the law celebrated the decisions as wins for democracy and protecting ballot access.
The Georgia and Texas laws were among the most prominent of numerous voting restrictions passed in Republican-controlled states following Trump’s loss in 2020. Over 100 restrictive laws have been enacted in more than 30 GOP-controlled states since then, according to the Voting Rights Lab.
Despite the controversy surrounding these laws, conservatives have continued to advocate for increased control over elections. The Georgia law, in particular, sparked protests and led to the relocation of the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. However, voter turnout remained strong in the state’s 2022 election, leading Republicans to argue that the backlash was exaggerated.
The federal court rulings, although delayed, are likely to be appealed. Advocates hope that these rulings will be upheld, as they demonstrate a rejection of restrictions on mail ballots and a commitment to preserving democracy.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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