Skip to content

BOOM: Federal Judge Upholds Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law

A federal judge has upheld parts of a voter integrity law passed in Georgia to keep elections safe and secure, a response to the furor resulting from Georgia’s handling of the 2020 election: Judge J.P. Boulee of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia upheld the parts of Georgia’s Election Integrity Law challenged by VoteAmerica, one of those leftist organization that sends prospective voters prefilled absentee ballot applications.

The background is that the hacks over at VoteAmerica sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding the removal of portions of the bill that added requirements for organizations or individuals that mail prefilled absentee ballot applications to potential voters.

The bill is Georgia SB 202, which was signed into law in May 2021 by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who is now the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee for 2022, so he has to fight Stacey Abrams.

Under the recently upheld law, third-party organizations are prohibited from sending absentee ballot applications prefilled with the prospective voter’s required information and from sending applications to prospective voters who have already requested an absentee ballot.

Additionally, organizations like VoteAmerica that send out the forms must clearly print a disclaimer on the front of it saying: “This is NOT an official government publication and was NOT provided to you by any governmental entity and this is NOT a ballot. It is being distributed by [insert name and address of person, organization, or other entity distributing such document or material].”

That infuriated VoteAmerica because, as the case describes the organization, “VoteAmerica is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to “engage eligible voters throughout the country in the electoral process, with an emphasis on voting absentee.” It wants to send out those pre-filled absentee ballots, something Georgia’s government wanted to stop it from doing.

And so a fight began, with VoteAmerica trying to crush the law and Georgia trying to enforce it, with the fight over the law potentially proving the deciding factor for the gubernatorial and midterm races in the now-purple Peach State.

Fortunately for the GOP, the court found that the law passed Constitutional muster, slapping down VoteAmerica’s claim that the requirements of the law violated its First Amendment rights, saying:

“Further, this Court finds that combining speech (in the cover information) with the conduct of sending an application form, as Plaintiffs do here, is not sufficient to transform the act of sending the application forms into protected speech.”

Will the Red Wave come crashing down on the Democrat's heads in November?(Required)
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

And striking down the “compelled speech” argument raised by VoteAmerica, Judge Boulee said:

The Court agrees that the manner of speech compelled in this case (factual information regarding the nature of the application form) is quite different from the manner of speech compelled in cases like McClendon (a sheriff’s yard sign warning the public not to trick or treat at a registered sex offender’s home) and NILFA (a statute requiring a crisis pregnancy center to disclose the availability of alternate reproductive care, including abortions). In McClendon and NILFA, the plaintiffs were required to convey the government’s own message, which directly altered whatever message the plaintiffs communicated or would have refrained from communicating. It therefore makes sense that the Supreme Court employed a heightened level of scrutiny in those cases.

In this case, pretermitting Plaintiffs’ contention that the first statement of the Disclaimer is factually incorrect, the Disclaimer says nothing (whether complementary or contradictory) regarding the pro-absentee voting message Plaintiffs wish to convey. It simply presents information designed to reduce voter confusion regarding absentee ballot applications provided by third parties and to relieve election officials of the administrative burdens resulting from such confusion. 

For these reasons, the Court finds that the Disclaimer constitutes compelled speech but is more analogous to the disclaimers in Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity. Therefore, it would be subject to exacting scrutiny if that type of analysis were applicable here.

This is a big win for not just the Georgia GOP, but for all state legislatures that were horrified by 2020 and want to tighten up election procedures, particularly those regarding absentee ballots.

By: Gen Z Conservative, editor of Follow me on Facebook and Subscribe to My Email List 

Enjoy HUGE savings at My Pillow with promo code GENZ