This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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A federal judge — who happens to be the sister of failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams — has ordered two Georgia counties to stop purging ineligible voters from their rolls.
This ruling comes just days before the crucial Senate run-off elections on Jan. 5, which will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ruled that two counties cannot remove thousands of voters who have filed a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service on Monday night, with liberal Democrat groups arguing that the registrations should be preserved even after their former holders have officially changed their addresses to locations outside of Georgia.
The judge ordered two counties to reverse a decision removing more than 4,000 voters from the rolls.
The Muscogee County Board of Elections had specifically requested that Abrams Gardner recuse herself from the case, citing her sister’s well-publicized claims of election misconduct and voter suppression after her loss in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial election.
Gardner rejected requests for her recusal and ruled to halt the ongoing election integrity measures in an eleven-page ruling on Monday, arguing the purges were being enacted too closely to Georgia’s upcoming federal election and that the out-of-state voters being removed weren’t given proper notice.
Judge blocks voter purge in 2 Georgia counties.
Don’t believe these things are rigged?
THE JUDGE IS STACY ABRAMS’ SISTER!!! WTF. https://t.co/zVnjkXyjsB
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 29, 2020
The judge, Leslie Abrams Gardner — the sister of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, a prominent ally of President-elect Joe Biden who has led voter registration efforts across the state — concluded that the counties appeared to have improperly relied on unverified change-of-address data to invalidate registrations in the two counties.
The bulk of the registrations that the counties sought to rescind, more than 4,000, were in Muscogee County, which Biden won handily in November. An additional 150 were from Ben Hill County, which Trump won by a wide margin.
The suit, brought by Majority Forward, represented by National Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias, followed an effort to challenge the lengthy roster of voters simply because their registrations appeared to match U.S. Postal Service change-of-address records. Voting officials in the two counties agreed to remove the voters, despite warnings from Democrats that such postal data is not a reliable or conclusive indicator that a voter has given up their local residence.
The motion requesting Gardner’s recusal noted that a voter registration group affiliated with Abrams, Fair Fight, filed a suit in another federal court in Georgia last week complaining that a national organization dedicated to targeting voter fraud, True the Vote, is making unjustified challenges to Georgia voters in the lead-up to the Jan. 5 runoffs.
“Abrams’ involvement in the Fair Fight Litigation … is sufficient to satisfy the standard for mandatory judicial recusal,” the board’s attorneys wrote. “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.”