Federal Judge Allows RNC To Defend Part of Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge will allow the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Georgia Republican Party to defend the state’s absentee ballot request deadline. Republican lawmakers shortened the deadline for absentee ballot applications as part of Georgia’s omnibus voter suppression law, Senate Bill 202.

In part of Republicans’ ongoing effort to curtail voting rights across the country, the RNC is arguing that part of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. 

Republicans are now officially involved in a lawsuit brought last October by the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees Local 927, a chapter of the largest union representing workers in the entertainment industry, challenging Georgia’s absentee ballot application deadline for presidential elections. 

The lawsuit argues that under the Section 202(d) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), voters must be able to cast absentee ballots in presidential elections if they applied seven days before the election. In Georgia, under Senate Bill 202, a voter must apply for an absentee ballot 11 days before the election — four days before the deadline mandated by the VRA. 

The theater workers allege that Georgia’s absentee ballot application cutoff for presidential elections violates the Voting Rights Act as it is shorter than the time mandated by the VRA and requests that the court block its enforcement. The group argues that Georgia’s absentee ballot application deadline is burdensome because their work requires them to frequently travel around and outside of Georgia and sometimes on short notice. 

In response, Republicans are arguing that Section 202(d) of the Voting Rights Act is not constitutional. “And under current precedent, the seven-day deadline does not pass constitutional muster. Neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Electors Clause nor any other constitutional provision gives Congress authority to enact the national seven-day application deadline. The federal law is unconstitutional,” the group’s motion to intervene reads. 

Back in February, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened to defend the Voting Rights Act from a different right-wing attack brought by Georgia’s Republican attorney general. 

The RNC’s intervention is the latest in a string of actions by Republicans to undermine the Voting Rights Act and attempt to strike what is left of the crucial legislation down. According to Democracy Docket’s database, the RNC is currently involved in 29 active voting-related cases across the country.

Read the order allowing the RNC to intervene here.

Read the motion to intervene here. 

Read more about the case here.