Lawsuit targets Georgia limits on mass mailing of ballot applications

Election personnel sort absentee ballot applications at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices on Nov. 7, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Ga. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/TNS)
Election personnel sort absentee ballot applications at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices on Nov. 7, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Ga. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Organizations that mailed millions of absentee ballot request forms to Georgia voters last year sued over the state’s new voting law Wednesday, alleging it illegally curtails their voter outreach.

It’s the fifth federal lawsuit filed since Gov. Brian Kemp signed the voting legislation into law two weeks ago.

Under the law, groups are only allowed to send absentee ballot applications to Georgians who haven’t already requested a ballot or voted. The restriction on mailings arose after voters complained that they received multiple letters asking them to request absentee ballots, even after they had already done so.

Organizations would have to check public election records to make sure they aren’t sending repeated ballot request forms to voters. They face a $100 fine for each duplicate absentee ballot application that’s processed by county election offices, according to the law.

“This law makes it virtually impossible to run vote-by-mail application programs that help Georgians cast their ballots,” said Tom Lopach, president of the Voter Participation Center and the Center for Voter Information, two of the plaintiffs in the suit. “That’s why we’re fighting back today against this assault on democracy and will keep working to ensure every American can make their voice heard.”

Georgia’s voting law also bans state and local governments from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters.

The lawsuit seeks to block the law based on the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

Previous lawsuits have opposed drop box restrictions, ID requirements, absentee request deadlines, provisional ballot disqualifications and a ban on volunteers providing food and water to people waiting in line to vote.

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