(The Center Square) — Georgia officials are claiming victory after three plaintiffs challenging the state’s new voting law petitioned the court to voluntarily dismiss their claims.
Critics have argued that the state’s new voting law, Senate Bill 202, the Election Integrity Act, is a burden on local election officials and made it more challenging for Georgians to cast ballots.
Nearly five dozen groups filed suit against Georgia, saying the law was “egregious,” “suppressive” and “discriminatory.” Four plaintiffs have already withdrawn their complaint, and three more are poised to take similar action, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office confirmed to The Center Square on Thursday.
“Despite the overheated rhetoric to the contrary from President [Joe] Biden, [failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams, and their progressive allies, Georgia’s Election Integrity Act contains common-sense reforms like photo-ID for all forms of voting,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. “We’re seeing that the poll-tested rhetoric from opponents of the bill is not supported by the facts, and the plaintiffs are starting to see that too.”
Added Raffensperger: “I commend these groups for recognizing that their initial claims weren’t supported by the facts, and that it would be a waste of taxpayer resources to continue them.”
Georgia officials cite a post-election poll of 1,253 registered Georgia voters that found an overwhelming majority (98.9%) reported no issues casting a ballot, which they say vindicates changes to Georgia’s voting law.
Attorney General Chris Carr’s office did not respond to a request for what the defense of the lawsuit will cost Georgia taxpayers.
Last September, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones ruled in favor of Raffensperger and the state elections board in another lawsuit filed by several groups, including Fair Fight, founded by Abrams.
Georgia taxpayers are on the hook to cover the bulk of the state’s cost to defend a lawsuit that alleged voter suppression in the 2018 election. A judge ruled that Fair Fight must pay the state $231,303 in expenses, but Peach State taxpayers will pick up the balance of the nearly $6 million the state spent on its defense.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor