FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 13, 2018
Federal Judge Grants Emergency TRO to Halt Illegal Mail Ballot Rejections in Gwinnett County Court finds that the process of rejecting ballots due to an omitted or incorrect birth year violates the Civil Rights Act.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, partnering with the Coalition for Good Governance, secured an important win for voters in Gwinnett County. On Sunday, November 11th, the groups filed an emergency motion seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent officials in Gwinnett County from rejecting absentee ballots containing immaterial errors or omissions. Today, Judge Leigh Martin May granted the request, finding that Gwinnett County’s process of rejecting absentee ballots on the basis of an omitted or incorrect birth year violates the Civil Rights Act. The court orders that these ballots be counted in the November 6th election. “For the public to have confidence in our electoral process, it is critical that every vote be counted and that every voice be heard,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Yet officials in communities like Gwinnett County remain bent on erecting unnecessary barriers for voters and continue to take extraordinary steps to justify their rejection of absentee ballots. From the start, we observed that Gwinnett County officials were rejecting absentee mail ballots cast by minority voters at far higher rates than that for white voters. This is an outcome that can only be explained along lines of race. Our democracy works when every vote is counted and we will continue to fight against the ongoing voter suppression attempts that we are witnessing across Georgia this election season.” The temporary restraining order was issued as part of a lawsuit filed in October challenging the extraordinarily high rate of rejections of absentee mail ballots in Georgia and, in particular, the rejection of ballots cast by minority voters by Gwinnett County. The defendants are Georgia Secretary of State Robyn A. Crittenden, members of the Georgia State Board of Elections, and members of the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections.
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