Stacey Abrams-Backed Election Lawsuit Opens Trial in Georgia

Stacey Abrams-Backed Election Lawsuit Opens Trial in Georgia Stacey Abrams-Backed Election Lawsuit Opens Trial in Georgia Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press on Dec. 16, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

By Jay Clemons | Monday, 11 April 2022 06:03 PM

A lawsuit originally backed by Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams went to trial Monday, claiming state officials intentionally mismanaged the 2018 election.

Fair Fight Action, a voting-rights group founded by Abrams, alleges that Georgia officials carried out a plan which ultimately led to voter suppression. Specifically, the lawsuit claims the 2018 election violated the First, 14th, and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"In 2018, Georgia voters encountered obstacles attempting to make their voices heard. That is why we are going to court to defend our freedom to vote," Fair Fight tweeted on Monday.

Georgia has an "Exact Match" requirement during state elections, mandating that voters must provide additional identification if their registration information doesn't sync up with the Department of Driver Services' database.

According to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law group, the "Exact Match" requirement disproportionately targets voters of color in Georgia.

"The inconsequential typographical mismatches were used to deny Georgians their right to vote," the complaint reads. "Before a federal court halted the practice, the 'exact match' policy suspended tens of thousands of new voter registrations."

The lawsuit also alleges that a number of polling places in Georgia were either closed or relocated in the run-up to the 2018 election. Also, absentee ballots were allegedly requested, but never arrived — potentially leaving some voting systems "knowingly" vulnerable to computer hacking.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the primary defendant in the lawsuit, released a statement on Monday:

"I will continue to secure Georgia's elections from noncitizens attempting to register to vote and cast ballots in the Peach State," said Raffensperger.

The secretary of state added: "While Stacey Abrams and her allies are suing to eliminate citizenship checks despite overwhelming support for citizens-only voting, I will never stop fighting to uphold the integrity of Georgia's elections."

Fair Fight Action's suit was initially filed in November 2018, shortly after Abrams lost the Georgia gubernatorial race to current Gov. Brian Kemp, who collected 50.2% of the general-election votes.

Also, according to the Washington Examiner, Fair Fight Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, helped Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock raise campaign funds throughout 2020, leading up to their separate runoff-election victories as first-time U.S. senators in January 2021.

Abrams served as Fair Fight Action chair from 2018-21. The 48-year-old will run for Georgia governor again this November. She qualified for ballot consideration a few weeks ago, and will participate in the state's Democratic primary on May 24.

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