The GOP is waging a legal war against absenteeism ahead of the Georgian proceedings

Legal efforts are likely to be just the beginning of what state Republicans are tightening to tighten voting rules in response to the 2020 election, which has sparked unfounded allegations of widespread fraud by Trump, his supporters and other GOP leaders who are convinced that the competition wasn’t fair. Republican MPs in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among others, have already announced their intention to seek to change state election laws next year in response to alleged irregularities, and Trump opposes the 2020 letter vote – coupled with the way these late-counted ballots were chosen. it has happened against it in some key states – it has destroyed the decades-long bipartisan consensus to extend the practice.

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, two Republican candidates in the Georgian runoff, said in a joint statement last week that their lawsuits are “reasonable and actionable steps we can take immediately to further ensure our integrity and accuracy on January 5. Elections.”

To date, more than 378,000 voters have returned votes on missing ballots and more than 846,000 absent ballots have been sent to voters but have not yet been returned. That’s slightly less than the general election at the same point, although since the polls opened this week, large numbers of people voted early in person. Democrats continue to highlight missing ballots, and the State Democratic Party has already begun efforts to help educate voters about those absent and how to heal ballots.

Georgia has been at the center of the right-wing protest since the November 3 general election after President-elect Joe Biden narrowly defeated Trump in the state. Since Trump’s loss, he has relentlessly attacked electoral systems and officials across the country, but paid special attention to Georgia and struck down Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, two Republicans Trump supported in 2018, for not supporting his fraud. demands. Earlier this week, the president retweeted Lin Wood – the lawyer who announced the wildest conspiracies with the election – and called for imprisonment for Kemp and Raffensperger.

Loeffler and Perdue broadly accepted the president’s election rhetoric, supporting a lawsuit dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to effectively dismiss all voters in the state by tossing the state’s presidential election results. The couple also joined Trump in attacking Raffensperger, making unsubstantiated allegations of state irregularities.

But senators took a different step in a lawsuit they joined alongside the state GOP and the National Republic Senator Committee, praising the efforts of state officials while trying to tighten their rules.

“Georgian election officials from the state to the local level have made significant efforts to ensure the integrity of the Georgian electoral process throughout the process,” the lawsuit reads. “These efforts are commendable, and this lawsuit will be further intensified and further improved.”

The judge scheduled a trial on Thursday for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit calls Georgia’s absentee ballot signature verification process “unreliable and non-transparent” and seeks to effectively toss up a consent decree approved by Raffensperger in March in response to a Democrat-led lawsuit. The Consent Regulation provided that ballot papers could only be rejected if two of the three election officials interviewed found that the signature on the ballot envelope did not match the one on the register. Election officials also had to contact the voter in question in time to get a chance to resolve or “cure” problems with their vote.

The signature verification process has been at the heart of a number of Georgian conspiracy theories, including Trump’s who falsely claimed the consent regulation “makes it impossible to verify and reconcile signatures”. Raffensperger, who faced threats against his family and staff, consistently defended the integrity of the Georgian election at a press conference and defended the signature verification process again this week.

“Let me be clear: Before the missing ballot is ever cast, the signing match will be confirmed twice,” Raffensperger said, referring to both submitting the missing ballot claim form and returning the vote. – Not once, twice. Like the signature, it matches twice. I don’t know how much clearer I can make it easier for everyone to understand. ”

The GOP lawsuit wants to reverse the rate of ballot rejection and requests that the envelope of each ballot be reviewed by three officials, and if one reviewer says the signature does not match, the ballot is rejected and sent during the cure. .

A second federal lawsuit, launched by Republicans in one of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts and prospective voters and also on Thursday, seeks to block the box for casting absentee ballots, revoke signature review guidelines and prevent county election officials from conducting elections. from the opening of ballot papers to election day.

The third lawsuit filed in the state court by the National Commission of the Republic and the State Party Party seeks to limit the use of soft drink boxes to business time and proposes changes to poll observers.

Democrats want to intervene in matters to protect the procedures currently in place.

“We’ve sued a lot and we’re tired.” But we are not over yet. , Said Marc Elias, a prominent pro-democracy lawyer, who served most of the party’s election litigation in the cycle last week.

Elias also filed a state lawsuit against four Georgia counties on Wednesday on behalf of the Liberal Group According to the New Georgia Project, not all counties provide an adequate amount of early, personal voting time.

The GOP lawsuits are likely to be just the first step in a wave of Republican attempts to introduce new rules around voting – including restrictions on access to postal voting, which Trump has blamed for his 2020 loss – in Georgia and elsewhere.

Republican senators in the state of Georgia said earlier this month they were trying to “reform our election laws” by claiming an excuse to vote by letter, such as being out of state on election day, or a medical issue that would restrict the use of absentee ballots. . Most states currently offer non-excused absentee voting, and there is no clear ideological divide between states on this issue.

Georgian Republicans also suggested requiring a photo ID for voters on the ballot, which Raffensperger supported.

“Republicans in the Georgian Senate have heard calls from millions of Georgians who have raised deep and sincere concerns about violating state laws and abusing our electoral process,” lawmakers said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the State House of Georgia, David Ralston, has called for the Secretary of State to be appointed by the General Assembly and not be elected by the electorate, which requires an amendment to the state’s constitution.

Individual lawmakers in other states, such as Pennsylvania, are also rolling back the postal vote. But Georgia is a handful of competitive battlefields where Republicans exercise unified control over state governance, giving them the power to pass new laws over Democrat objection before the 2022 election, when Governor Kemp is expected to retaliate. Against Stacey Abrams Democrat.

Some Republicans opposed the postal vote under naked political circumstances following the loss of the president.

“Why is Georgian Foreign Minister Raffensperger working so hard to make drum boxes and take other steps to make it harder for Republicans to win?” Newt Gingrich has tweeted. “Are you really so intimidated by Stacey Abrams?”

Meanwhile, Republicans are also encouraging their voters to trust absentee ballots. At a gathering in Valdosta earlier this month, Trump had a message on the video screen encouraging requests from those missing. During a special state visit, Vice President Mike Pence told attendees that they trusted in the application of the process.

– We provide our polls. We secure the box. So get a missing ballot and vote – and vote today, ”Pence said. – Don’t wait. Fill in and turn it over.