Over renewed objections from Secretary of State Brian Kemp and other elections leaders, a federal judge officially issued Thursday an injunction stopping Georgia from rejecting absentee ballots because of signatures deemed not to match those on file.
The injunction — which Kemp’s team now says it intends to appeal — granted by U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May orders Kemp’s office to inform local elections offices that, instead of issuing rejections, they should mark such ballots as provisional, then give the would-be voter "pre-rejection notice" and an opportunity to resolve the discrepancy. Absentee ballot applications with potential signature issues are ordered to be treated similarly.
Several hundred ballots would likely to be affected.
May had released a proposed version of the injunction on Wednesday but gave Kemp’s office and the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections — both plaintiffs in a pair of ongoing voting rights lawsuits — until noon Thursday to files responses.
With less than two weeks until Election Day, Kemp’s attorneys called the injunction “unworkable given the need to have votes counted and the election certified by the Monday after the election.”
They made similar arguments in a new filing submitted late Thursday afternoon -- a motion to stay injunction pending appeal. It essentially amounts to Kemp asking May to hold off on enforcing the injunction while Kemp’s team appeals it to the Eleventh Circuit.
“Last-minute challenges to longstanding election procedures have long been disfavored because they threaten to disrupt the orderly administration of elections, which is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy,” the motion said.