The remaining allegations in Fair Fight Action’s case, which was brought in the days after Dem. Stacey Abrams barely lost to GOP Brian Kemp for governor of Georgia in 2018, were rejected by a federal judge on Friday.
According to a copy of the 288-page court decision provided by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee, concluded that “despite Georgia’s election system’s imperfections, the challenged practices don’t violate either the Constitution or the VRA (Voting Rights Act).”
In its 2018 complaint, Fair Fight Action, a subsidiary of the PAC Fair Fight formed by Stacey Abrams, alleged multiple “serious and unlawful defects in Georgia’s electoral process” pertaining to absentee votes, voting registration, and voter list maintenance.
The group claimed that certain voting procedures in the state denied racial minorities their right to vote, but the AJC noted that many of the claims had been debunked over the previous four years. These included claims about “long lines, electronic voting, insufficient poll worker training, ballot refusals, and widespread voting registration cancellations.”
Black voters were disproportionately impacted by the state’s “exact match” voter registration regulation, one of the accusations that was still up for debate. “Here, plaintiffs have not presented actual evidence of a voter who wasn’t able to vote, suffered longer wait times, or was unclear about voter registration status,” Jones wrote in his response.
The lawsuit was prompted by Abrams’ infamous non-concession speech she gave following her defeat by Kemp in 2018, in which she claimed that “the state failed its voting public,” “democracy managed to fail Georgia,” and that “this is not a statement of concession because concession implies to recognize an action is correct, truthful, or appropriate.” Although Abrams conceded in her speech that Kemp would be confirmed as governor, she charged him with rigging the election to win.
In her rematch against Kemp this November, Abrams used Jones’s decision from Friday as support for her candidacy, saying, “This case illustrates that the 2022 campaign will be a referendum on how our state handles its most disadvantaged voices.”
Despite the fact that the four-year legal battle had produced numerous “important pro-voter improvements,” Fair Fight Action expressed “disappointment in the court’s judgment.”
Abrams, a well-funded national figure who has been mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate, has, according to Kemp, “used this lawsuit from day one to line her pockets, plant distrust in our democratic systems, and create her own celebrity,” he said in a statement following the court’s decision.
Kemp continued, “Judge Jones’ decision reveals this legal attempt for what it truly is: a tool used by a politician hoping to improperly weaponize the judicial system to further her own political purposes.”
Despite fierce opposition from Abrams, other well-known Democrats, and their business friends, Kemp enacted the state’s landmark Election Integrity Act last year.
Kemp said in his statement on Friday, “In Georgia, it is easy to vote and difficult to cheat – and I’m planning to keep working on keeping it that way,” quoting a remark the governor frequently used as the measure made its way through the legislature.