Judge Gardner to file order in voter eligibility case out of Muscogee and Ben Hill counties soon

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 6:59 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A judge for the U.S. District Court of Middle Georgia heard all sides regarding voter eligibility challenges out of Ben Hill and Muscogee counties Wednesday.

The case was heard in Albany.

On Monday, Judge Gardner issued a temporary restraining order in this case.

It prevented the counties from moving forward in challenging the eligibility of thousands of voters.

This started when Ben Hill and Muscogee counties received challenges from people in their communities.

They say thousands of registered voters were no longer living in either of those counties.

They based this information on the National Change of Address Database.

The U.S. Postal Service maintains this list.

The group “Majority Forward”, Gamaliel Warran Turner Sr., and Debra Lewis filed a complaint after the counties found probable cause to challenge the electors presented to them.

On Wednesday, Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner heard arguments from the counties and those that filed the complaint against them.

The main arguments from both sides revolved around the burden and harm on the voters being challenged, on the state of Georgia, and on the county elections offices in question.

Challenges like the ones that Ben Hill and Muscogee decided to proceed with have been filed across the Peach State.

According to the complaint two plaintiffs filed against the counties, people who partnered with a group made the challenges.

The Texas-based organization is called “True the Vote.”

Judge Gardner’s sister, Stacey Abrams, also visited Albany Wednesday.

Stacey Abrams is known in the area as a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and the founder of the organization “Fair Fight,” and other voter organizations.

Judge Gardner's sister, Stacey Abrams, visited Albany Wednesday and commented on "True The Vote."
Judge Gardner's sister, Stacey Abrams, visited Albany Wednesday and commented on "True The Vote."(WALB)

“They’re saying that if you forward your mail, you sacrifice and forfeit your right to vote in Georgia. That’s not the law, and that’s not right. When people are serving our country, when they are serving our citizens, they shouldn’t have to prove that they are citizens. They shouldn’t have to prove their patriotism in the state of Georgia,” said Abrams.

Dougherty County Elections Board has recently presented a similar challenge on voter eligibility.

The board did not find probable cause to move forward with the challenge.

Dougherty County GOP Chairman, Tracy Taylor supports the challenge.

“Yeah, I definitely support True the Vote. I believe in democracy and I believe in a fair and transparent election. I would hope that the other side will look at it the same way that we look at it from the GOP standpoint. We just want to ensure that we are going by the book. And that we are doing our best to make sure elect the correct person to support Dougherty County’s interest,” said Taylor.

After hearing closing arguments from both sides in the Ben Hill and Muscogee case, Judge Gardner decided to take the afternoon and, quote, “layout her findings and conclusions.”

The judge is expected to file a complete order on Wednesday night or Thursday.

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