A federal judge in Georgia ordered two counties to reverse a decision which took out over 4,000 people from voter rolls before the Jan. 5th runoff which will decide which party controls the Senate.
The judge who declared this is Leslie Abrams Gardner. You might be saying that this name sounds familiar. Well, you would be correct. Gardner is not only related to Stacey Abrams, the failed gubernatorial candidate and ally to Democrat Joe Biden, but she is also her sister. Gardner asserted that the two counties relied on unverified change-of-address data to remove the voter registrations. She also claimed that this voter roll purge was not permitted within 90 days of a federal election.
Most of the registrations under question come from Muscogee County, which Biden easily carried last month.
Ralph Russell, the Georgia voter who originally brought forth this case, claimed that each of the voters intentionally left the state of Georgia, making them ineligible to vote.
“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, moved 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.”
The Muscogee board agreed with Russell’s evidence and ruled 3-1 in his favor, removing the voters from the rolls. The only exception would be if they voted with a provisional ballot and show they still had residency in the county. Tommy Roberts, a resident of Ben Hill County, offered similar evidence and won his suit when the county board ruled 2-1 in his favor.
But on Monday, Gardner, who again is Stacey Abrams’ sister, tossed those victories out the door.
National Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias sent out a celebratory tweet, saying this order is a “blow to GOP voter suppression.”
Muscogee County officials challenged Gardner’s ruling, arguing that she should recuse herself from the case given her obvious connections to her sister. This motion pointed out that a voter registration group affiliated with Abrams, Fair Fight, filed a suit in a different federal court in Georgia last week. The suit argues that a national organization dedicated to sniffing out voter fraud, True the Vote, is making baseless disputations to voters in the Peach State ahead of the Jan. 5 runoffs, according to Politico.
“Abrams’ involvement in the Fair Fight Litigation … is sufficient to satisfy the standard for mandatory judicial recusal,” the board’s attorneys said in the motion (bottom of page six). “Abrams has a clear interest in the outcome of this proceeding and other similarly situated litigation in Georgia due to her voting advocacy through projects such as Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project.”
But rather than comply, Gardner refused to step aside and recuse herself.
“The Court has reviewed the motion and finds no basis for recusal. An Order detailing the Court’s reasoning is forthcoming,” Gardner said.
Naturally, this has sparked outrage from the GOP and its supporters who believe Gardner has a clear and obvious conflict of interest.