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Monday, August 8, 2022

A Georgia judge has overturned a portion of the state’s voting legislation that prohibited photographs.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of that part of the legislation, thus barring it from being implemented for the time being. His decision also refused to prohibit a number of additional measures, the most majority of which having to do with monitoring or photographing portions of the voting process.

According to the Associated Press, Boulee went on to say that the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG), an electoral integrity organization that brought the complaint, had enough significant allegations to establish its case.

Other provisions of the legislation that were challenged in the case were maintained by Boulee, including a requirement that voters seek absentee votes at least 11 days before election day and a ban on election observers sharing information with anyone other than election officials.

However, while the lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Good Governance challenges many aspects of the law, including the provision that allows the State Election Board to remove county election superintendents, the preliminary injunction request that was the subject of Boulee’s ruling was relatively narrow. Specifically, it asserted that the clauses in the issue penalize ordinary election observation practices. State attorneys had claimed that such provisions of the legislation strengthen prior safeguards and are essential for election integrity to be maintained.

Boulee did not object to the following provisions: prohibiting people from intentionally observing someone who is voting in such a way that the observer can see the voter’s choices; requiring that absentee ballots be requested at least 11 days before an election; and prohibiting observers from communicating any information they see during absentee ballot processing to anyone other than the person who is processing the ballot.

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