A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Wednesday temporarily blocked enforcement of the “signature match” voting law on procedural due process grounds.
The law allows the rejection of absentee ballots if signatures do not match other state records. The ACLU filed suit to block the law’s enforcement last week.
The law has generated controversy as Georgia’s Secretary of State Robert Kemp is also running as the Republican Party nominee for Georgia’s governorship. The enforcement of the law is seen as a way to lower turnout and favor the secretary of state. The court focused its decision upon the lack of procedural due process for ballots that are determined by state officials because they do not match.
Defendants fail to explain why it would impose a severe hardship to afford absentee voters a similar process for curing mismatched signature ballots as for curing qualification challenges or casting a provisional ballot.
Georgia argues that creating a new procedural requirement for mismatched voters to allow for an appeal would create an undue burden with the election less than two weeks away. In the same argument, the Georgia claims only 228 voters are mismatched. The court responded, “The State cannot claim on one hand that an appeal process would be an administrative nightmare while on the other claiming that such a rejection is rare.”