Voters cast their ballots at a polling site for Georgia's primary election, May 20, 2014, in Atlanta, Ga.
David Goldman/AP

Georgia court sides with state in voter-registration case

We’ve kept a close eye on developments in Georgia, home to very competitive U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, where civil-rights groups believe state officials are slow-walking tens of thousands of voter-registration forms. A lawsuit was filed on Friday, Oct. 10, with voting-rights advocates looking for a court order on processing pending forms.
 
As the Associated Press reported, with time running out, state officials appear to have prevailed.
Days before the midterm elections, a state judge declined Tuesday to act in a dispute over 56,000 voter registration applications in one of the nation’s most politically charged states. […]
 
Fulton County Judge Christopher Brasher ruled Tuesday that the plaintiffs failed to prove that election authorities haven’t followed the law, even if the would-be voters have yet to show up on the state’s official list of eligible electors.
 
Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and authorities in several majority Democratic counties say they are still processing the applications. And they’ve argued that any citizen can cast a provisional ballot, a contention the plaintiffs mock as insufficient.
The civil-rights groups responsible for the case are, not surprisingly, considering an appeal, though with Election Day now just six days away, time is obviously limited.
 
For those who haven’t followed the controversy, voter-suppression efforts have been problematic in Georgia. Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), Georgia’s top elections official, was recorded over the summer expressing concern, for example, about Democrats “registering all these minority voters that are out there.” Kemp also subpoenaed the New Georgia Project, which happens to be the driving force behind the state’s largest voter-registration campaign, for reasons that appear quite dubious.
 
But it’s these voter-registration materials that may ultimately matter most.
According to the New Georgia Project, the group has submitted “more than 80,000 new voter applications to county election boards.” But as Election Day nears, the New Georgia Project says roughly half of these new voters, some of whom registered months ago, are not yet on the voter rolls. And if these Georgians aren’t on the voter rolls, they may not be able to cast a ballot that counts.
 
That’s what the lawsuit is all about – making sure those who’ve registered can, in fact, vote.
 
For more background on this, Rachel’s recent segment on Georgia is worth your time.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/9/14, 10:40 PM ET

40,000 voter registration forms gone missing in Georgia

Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader, talks with Rachel Maddow about Republican challenges to a voting registration drive by the New Georgia Project, and over 40,000 new voter registration applications that have not been processed.

Georgia and War On Voting

Georgia court sides with state in voter-registration case