US Court Blocks State of Georgia From Rejecting Ballots Over Signature Issues

© REUTERS / Jonathan DrakeChildren watch their mother vote during the U.S. general election in Greenville, North Carolina, US on November 8, 2016.
Children watch their mother vote during the U.S. general election in Greenville, North Carolina, US on November 8, 2016. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US federal Judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevents state of Georgia election officials from throwing out ballots based on groundless signature mismatch claims, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a press release on Wednesday.

Last week the state of Georgia was sued for allegedly rejecting a disproportionate number of minority voter absentee ballots ahead of the November midterm elections which includes a tight racially-charged governor’s race.

"The ruling stems from an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against [Georgia] Secretary of State Brian Kemp and county registrars," the release said. "At issue is a state law that allows election officials — who have no handwriting-analysis expertise — to reject an absentee ballot if they think there is a signature mismatch in the voter’s paperwork, without giving prior notice to the voter or an opportunity to contest that determination."

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According to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, the county of Gwinnett accounted for nearly 40 percent of all ballots rejected statewide. More than 60 percent of Gwinnett residents are Latino, Black or Asian, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials told the paper.

A Gwinnett county spokesman told the journal that they were handling the ballots "according to state law."

Democrat Stacey Abrams — who could become the state of Georgia’s first African-American governor — has repeatedly accused Republican candidate Brian Kempt of mass purging blacks from voter lists. Kempt currently oversees the election process in his role as Georgia’s secretary of state. Kemp has faced mounting criticism that his policies are purposefully making it harder for minorities to register and vote.

READ MORE: Trump Ex-Campaign Chief Sought Help From Israel in US Election Meddling – Report

Georgia began accepting early ballots on Monday ahead of the November 6 elections for the entire US House of Representatives, one third of the Senate, and the governor’s race.

The ACLU filed its complaint on behalf of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project.

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