Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Block Election Certification in Georgia

POLITICS & POLICY
A polling station in Atlanta on Election Day in 2018 (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

A federal judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit from a Trump ally that sought to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, which is scheduled to take place Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Grimberg, a Trump nominee, ruled against conservative attorney Lin Wood, a Trump ally, in his lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger seeking to prevent the election results from being certified by the Friday deadline.

The suit sought a temporary restraining order against the certification of the state’s election results, taking issue with a March consent decree that mandated election officials attempt to contact a voter whose ballot signature does not appear to match their signature on file before tossing their mail ballot.

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The judge said that Wood lacked legal standing as an individual voter to bring his lawsuit against Georgia’s election procedures and failed to demonstrate that he was harmed.

“It is well established that garden-variety election disputes do not rise to the level of a constitutional deprivation,” Grimberg said. “The fact that his candidate didn’t win doesn’t rise to the level of harm.”

Biden leads Trump in Georgia by more than 12,000 votes after a hand recount of the state’s roughly five million ballots whittled down but did not erase his razor-thin lead. The Associated Press called Georgia for the former vice president on Thursday.

“It would require halting the certification of results in a state election in which millions of people have voted,” Grimberg said of his decision. “It would interfere with an election after the voting was done.”

He also noted that the fraught political atmosphere was not an optimal one in which to hold up certifying the election results.

“It harms the public interest in countless ways, particularly in the environment in which this election occurred,” the judge said. “To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and potentially disenfranchisement that I find has no basis in fact or in law.”

Despite his rejection of the lawsuit, however, Grimberg directed a friendly word toward Trump’s team, suggesting that he may have considered the case differently if the campaign or the GOP had brought the lawsuit.

“Neither the Republican Party nor the Trump campaign nor any other candidate has joined this lawsuit,” the judge said. “That certainly would have changed the analysis when it comes to standing.”

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