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ATLANTA — The Georgia Republican Party joined the Republican National Committee on Tuesday in appealing a federal court decision requiring the counting of absentee ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross ruled last month that mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day must be counted if they arrive by 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. Under current law, absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

“Democrats have filed a barrage of frivolous lawsuits to eliminate safeguards, sow confusion and upend the timely and accurate counting of votes,” state GOP Chairman David Shafer said Tuesday. “They cry ‘voter suppression’ but ignore the fact that an unlawful vote cancels out and ‘suppresses’ a lawful vote as completely as if the lawful voter was physically turned away from the polling place.”

But Democrats say Ross’ Aug. 31 ruling was an attempt to calm concerns over the reliability of absentee voting amid the coronavirus pandemic rather than add to the confusion.

“All Georgians deserve to have their voice heard,” Georgia Democratic Chairwoman Nikema Williams said following Ross’ decision. “It is the responsibility of our democracy to make voting by mail and early-voting options as accessible as possible.”

The voter registration group New Georgia Project brought the lawsuit in May against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Ross agreed the deadline for accepting mail-in ballots should be extended but dismissed other claims sought in the case, including bids to waive postage for absentee ballots and to require Raffensperger’s office to mail absentee-ballot applications to all Georgia voters, as occurred for the June 9 primary.

The plaintiffs also lost a bid to extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline by five days, which Ross shortened to three days.

In her decision, Ross stated that while courts are reluctant to interfere with the legal requirements governing elections, “the burden on many voters will be severe” if absentee ballots that arrive shortly after Election Day are rejected, even if they were postmarked on Election Day.

A brief the Republicans filed Tuesday calls on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay Ross’s ruling until the full appeal can be heard.

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(2) comments

DavekInCanton

Since we have early voting, there is no reason to extend the date by which they should be counted. There is plenty of time to get them. During the primary, we took our ballot to the polling place and handed it to the person working there. We did not take a chance on mailing it. We have our absentee ballot now, but we may end up voting in person. That is always the way it was done. We only used an absentee ballot when we were not going to be in the state on election day.

edrake

There is plenty of time to mail your absentee ballot without giving someone until election day. Why extend the date. Be responsible and mail on time. Extending the count time only extends the time dems can create fraud.

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