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Two Georgia counties improperly relied on unsubstantiated change-of-address information to invalidate voter's registration forms.
The counties must now reverse their decision to remove thousands from voter rolls in advance of Georgia's January runoff elections which will determine whether the Democrats or Republicans take control oc the US Senate.
In an order filed Monday night, Georgia federal judge Leslie Abrams Gardner said these two counties seemed to have improperly relied on unverified change-of-address information to invalidate voter registrations, as reported by Reuters.
The judge, who is the sister of Stacey Abrams, the Democratic activist who lost a race for Georgia governor in 2018, stated: “Defendants are enjoined from removing any challenged voters in Ben Hill and Muscogee Counties from the registration lists on the basis of National Change of Address data."
The vast majority of the more than 4,000 registrations that officials tried to rescind were in Muscogee County. President-elect Joe Biden won this county during the November election, whereas another 150 were in Ben Hill county, which Donald Trump won with a sizable margin.
The race will decide whether Democrats control both houses of Congress, and nearly 2.1 million people—a quarter of the state's registered voters—have already voted in the Senate runoff election, beginning December 14.
A federal judge in Georgia has ordered two counties to reverse a decision removing more than 4,000 voters from the rolls ahead of the runoff elections. https://t.co/AxwYqpkfmq
The result will also prove influential for the fate of Biden’s policy initiatives as a Republican-controlled Senate, even if held by a slim majority, will probably block most of his agenda, including Biden’s ability to secure his desired cabinet appointees.
Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are running against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. Recent data from FiveThirtyEight places Warnock and Perdue just slightly ahead of their opponents.
Victories for Warnock and Ossof would mean that the Senate is divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and in situations where votes on legislation are evenly split, the tie-breaking vote would be cast by Democratic Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The important runoff has led to record-breaking campaign fundraising, as Ossoff and Warnock have each raised more than $100m in a mere two months, far surpassing their conservative opponents. Ossoff, in charge of a media production business, raised more than $106 million from mid-October to mid-December, according to his campaign’s most recent financial report, wheras Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist church, raised slightly more than $103 million.
Leaders from both parties have made campaign stops. Joe Biden, the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992, and Harris have campaigned in the state, while Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, have also campaigned heavily.