OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Stacy Abrams, the Democrat candidate for governor in Georgia, just got smacked down by a federal court.
On Friday a federal judge ruled that Georgia’s voter integrity laws that require voter identification and citizenship checks are constitutional and do not inordinately effect minorities, Just The News reported.
The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones, who was appointed to the bench by former President Obama, explained his decision in his ruling, noting that federal courts are “not the arbiter” of state elections, which handed a major victory to Gov. Brian Kemp who fought the lawsuit.
“Although Georgia’s election system is not perfect, the challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the VRA,” the judge said. “As the Eleventh Circuit notes, federal courts are not ‘the arbiter[s] of disputes’ which arise in elections; it [is] not the federal court’s role to ‘oversee the administrative details of a local election.’”
“Having held a non-jury trial and considered the evidence and arguments of the parties, for the foregoing reasons, the Court finds IN FAVOR of Defendants and against Plaintiffs on all remaining Counts of Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint,” he said.
The case was fought by Abrams and the group Fair Fight after she lost the 2018 election for governor.
“This is a win for all Georgia election officials who dedicate their lives to safe, secure and accessible elections,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “Stolen election and voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts and evidence.”
“Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals,” Gov. Kemp said.
But much like the fact that she never conceded after her defeat in the 2018 election for Georgia governor, Abrams celebrated a “hard-won victory” after losing on all counts.
“The conduct of this trial and preceding cases and legislative actions represent a hard-won victory for voters who endured long lines, burdensome date of birth requirements and exact match laws that disproportionately impact Black and Brown voters,” she said on Twitter.
“The work over the last 10 years has been to advance fairness in our democracy that is not linked to ‘the status of minority life in Georgia.’ There’s no denying voter suppression under Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger. This 288-page order spells out the cost of their actions,” she said.
“This case and the public engagement on these issues have had measurable results: the reinstatement of over 22,000 ballots, substantive changes to voting laws, and a platform for voters of color to demand greater equity in our state” the Democrat said.
“During this suit, more than 3,000 voters shared their stories, creating an unprecedented and lasting record of voter testimony, which highlighted the suppressive effects of the Secretary of State’s actions on vulnerable voters,” she said.
“As governor, I will expand the right to vote.. I will defend minority voters, not bemoan their increased power or grow ‘frustrated’ by their success. This case demonstrates that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices,” she said.
The conduct of this trial and preceding cases and legislative actions represent a hard-won victory for voters who endured long lines, burdensome date of birth requirements and exact match laws that disproportionately impact Black and Brown voters. 1/
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) October 1, 2022
Unlike Abrams, Fair Fight acknowledged defeat, though it vowed to continue fighting.
“Despite the numerous and significant pro-voter developments that have already resulted from this case, we are nonetheless disappointed by the Court’s decision. In this moment of frustration, we also are here to remind the nation: Litigation is only one tool to fight against voter suppression,” the group said.
“While Georgia voters must continue to wait for much-needed relief from Secretary of State Raffenspeger and the State Election Board’s suppressive elections practices, our trial was nothing short of historic — not just for the state, but for the nation. We are proud of what Fair Fight Action, our co-plaintiffs, and Georgians have achieved over the last four years. This trial was a testament to the resilience and determination of Georgia voters. Since 2018, this case has provided more than 3,000 Georgians with a platform to share their experiences. Their stories were not shared in vain. Rather, they enable Fair Fight Action and our allies to shine a light on the burdensome and discriminatory features of Georgia’s elections system while advocating for commonsense, pro-voter solutions,” it said.
“The Court’s ruling today is no doubt a significant loss for the voting rights community in Georgia and across the country. However, it does not undermine the tireless work that Fair Fight Action and our allies continue to undertake to support Georgia voters and mitigate the obstacles they face to make their voices heard at the ballot box. Fair Fight Action will continue to support Georgians as they navigate the voting process and the hurdles placed in their way by SOS Raffensperger and the State Election Board’s policies and practices.
“The fight continues,” it said.