The race to control the Senate is heating up. Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ordered two counties to reverse a decision that removed more than 4,000 voters from the voting system. Judge Gardner says that the counties improperly relied on unverified change-of-address information to remove voters’ information.
The majority of the voters who were going to be purged were from Muscogee County, where President-elect Joe Biden dominated the presidential election. More than 150 were from Ben Hill County, where President Donald Trump took the lead.
According to Politico, Ralph Russell, a voter in Muscogee County, believes that the 4,000 voters should be removed. Russell allegedly used a public voter registration database to demonstrate that the voters had moved out of Georgia.
“I believe that each of the individuals named … as a result of registering their name and change of address to a location outside of Muscogee County, removed to another state with the intention of making the new state their residence,” Russell said. “Thus, each individual has lost their residence in Muscogee County, and consequently, each individual is ineligible to vote in Muscogee County.”
Officials agreed to remove the voters, but that came with a new challenge. A lawsuit was filed by Majority Forward, a group that is represented by Marc Elias, an attorney for the National Democratic Party. Democrats warned that postal data is unreliable and isn’t a reflection of if a voter has given up their local residence.
“We continue to monitor how other Georgia counties respond to the suppression scheme,” Elias said. “Where necessary, we will sue, and we will win.”
In Judge Gardner’s ruling, she stated that the removal goes against federal law because they were not given adequate notice. They were exhibiting a form of ‘systematic voter roll cleaning’ that is not allowed within 90 days of an election.
A motion was filed by the Muscogee board that argued that Gardner should remove herself from the case because she is Stacey Abrams‘ sister. The motion mentioned a voter registration group affiliated with her sister filed a lawsuit in another federal court, accusing True the Vote of making unjustified challenges to Georgia voters.
Judge Gardner acknowledged the recusal request in her ruling but said she is not stepping down.
“The judge reviewed the motion and finds no basis for recusal. An order detailing the Court’s reasoning is forthcoming,” the judge wrote.