Friday, April 21, 2017

Last Call For The Runoff Rundown

Now that the battle for Trump HHS Secretary Tom Price's seat is going to a runoff election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, it's time for Georgia's GOP state officials to do everything they can in order to make sure the seat doesn't fall to Team Blue.

That means refusing to extend voting registration for the runoff, of course.  Because the answer every time for Republicans to deal with demographic changes is always "stop those people from voting."

Five civil rights and civic engagement groups have filed suit against Georgia and its secretary of state for attempting to block registered voters from participating in a closely watched runoff election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

On Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a complaint in the federal district court in Atlanta, arguing that the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act. That law sets 30 days before a federal election as the earliest permissible deadline for voter registration.

Georgia complied with the provision for the special congressional election held this past Tuesday. But because no candidate won 50 percent of the vote, there will be a second election on June 20 ― a runoff between the top two finishers, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Georgia election officials contend that the June runoff is simply a continuation of the special election this week, so they don’t have to allow newly registered voters to participate. The registration deadline for Tuesday’s election was March 20, and officials say anybody who registers after that day is not eligible to vote in the June runoff.

Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the voting rights project at the Lawyers’ Committee, argues that under the federal law, Georgia can’t set the registration deadline for the June 20 runoff any earlier than 30 days before that election ― that is, May 22.

“The case is actually a very, very simple case,” Rosenberg told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “Federal law specifically defines elections as including runoff elections.”

The National Voter Registration Act, passed in 1993, defines the word “election” based on the Federal Election Campaign Act. That 1971 statute defines an election as “a general, special, primary, or runoff election.”

Even though this is a "very, very simple case", by dragging their feet on this issue, Georgia Republicans can simply wait out the clock and continue to stop new voters in the district from registering.  Don't expect any help from the Department of Justice run by Jeff Sessions, or from a Supreme Court that just added Justice Gorsuch, either.  If the executive refuses to enforce the law, and the judiciary doesn't step in, does the law even matter?

Georgia Republicans seems to think not, and right now I'm not seeing anything that makes me think that they won't get away with this.

I would very much like to be pleasantly surprised, but as of right now, Georgia is getting away with this.

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