Photo: Voters stand in a line as they wait to vote early Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Athens, Ga.
Photo Credit: John Bazemore / AP
The Center Square [By Nyamekye Daniel]-
An Atlanta judge denied Georgia attorney Lin Wood’s request Thursday to stop the certification of the state’s election results.
Wood filed an emergency motion with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to suspend the certification of the results until his lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the Georgia State Election Board can be heard. The election results must be certified by the state no later than 5.p.m. today, November 20th.
Wood’s attorney asked U.S. District Court Judge Steven Grimberg to order another hand recount of the presidential election ballots.
“To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and potential disenfranchisement that I find has no basis in fact or in law,” Grimberg said.
The votes in Georgia’s presidential election have been audited and recounted by hand over the past week. Wood claims Raffensperger and election board members violated the U.S. Constitution and state code when they signed a settlement agreement with Democrats that requires more than one election worker to review a ballot’s signature before it is rejected.
A report from the secretary of state’s office shows the rejection rate for signature issues was 0.15% in the 2018 and 2020 general elections. Elected officials rejected 2,011 out of 1.3 million absentee ballots in the November 2020 election because of signatures issues. In November 2018, 454 out of 284,393 absentee ballots were rejected. Attorneys representing the state presented the rejection rate to Grimberg on Thursday.
Wood’s lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 13, says Raffensperger and four members of the election board did not have the authority to add new rules or regulations to the state’s absentee ballot process. That right is reserved for the General Assembly, the lawsuit says. Raffensperger committed to a legal settlement with the Democratic Party of Georgia in March that includes the second layer of signature screening.
The agreement was penned after Democrats sued the state in November 2019 over ballots that were thrown out for signature issues in the 2018 general election.
Wood’s lawsuit argues the extra review process violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and citizens’ right to a fair election because the rule was created in favor of one political party.
Candidates in the presidential race can still request a recount once the results are certified.