Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, Stacey Abrams' sister, Georgia has ruled that a Georgia county can require some voters to cast provisional ballots with just five days left until election day.
Roughly 4,000 voters in Muscogee County are facing eligibility challenges. Judge Gardner originally issued a restraining order against the county against forcing the voters to use provisional ballots.
Now the judge has overruled her previous restraining order, allowing the county to force the potential voters to submit provisional ballots, Politico reports.
Gardner also ruled, however, that the eligibility of these voters cannot be challenged solely using the National Change of Address Registry.
"The challenge to their eligibility will not be sustained absent specific evidence of ineligibility," she wrote.
She also required that any voters considered ineligible have the right to challenge such eligibility requirements until Jan. 8, three days after the Jan. 5 Senate elections.
Republicans have expressed frustration that Gardner, an Obama appointee, did not recuse herself from the case given her close relationship with Stacey Abrams, a prominent Democratic politician in the state. Abrams ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, losing by a narrow margin. She blamed her loss on voter suppression.
The ruling is a partial victory for Republicans when compared to the previous restraining order. The county board of elections praised the decision.
"The Muscogee County Board of Elections is pleased that Judge Abrams Gardner's Order dissolves the previous temporary restraining order and allows the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration to resume the use of provisional ballots and its adjudication of the election challenge," the county board of elections said.
Majority Forward, a Democratic-aligned organization, praised the ruling as a "victory over voter suppression."
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