Federal judge allows RNC to defend part of Georgia voter suppression law

WASHINGTON, DC – A federal judge will allow the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Republican Party of Georgia to defend Georgia's deadline for requesting mail-in ballots. Republican lawmakers have shortened the deadline for mail-in ballots under Georgia's sweeping voter suppression law, Senate Bill 202.

As part of ongoing Republican efforts to restrict voting rights across the country, the RNC argues that parts of the Voting Rights Act are unconstitutional.

Republicans are now officially involved in a lawsuit filed last October by the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees Local 927, an affiliate of the entertainment industry's largest union, challenging the deadline for submitting absentee ballot applications in Georgia's presidential election.

The lawsuit argues that Section 202(d) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) requires voters to be able to cast absentee ballots in presidential elections if they request one seven days before the election. In Georgia, Senate Bill 202 requires a voter to submit a request for absentee ballots 11 days before the election—four days before the deadline required by the VRA.

The theater workers claim that Georgia's deadline for absentee ballot applications in presidential elections violates the Voting Rights Act because it is shorter than the deadline required by the VRA, and are asking that the court block enforcement of that deadline. The group argues that Georgia's deadline for absentee ballot applications is a burden because their jobs require them to travel frequently in and out of Georgia, sometimes on short notice.

In response, Republicans argue that Section 202(d) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. “And under current precedent, the seven-day deadline is unconstitutional. Neither the 14th Amendment nor the Voting Rights Clause nor any other constitutional provision empowers Congress to establish a national seven-day deadline for filing. The federal law is unconstitutional,” the group's motion to intervene states.

Back in February, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened to defend the Voting Rights Act against another right-wing attack by the Republican Attorney General of the State of Georgia.

The RNC's intervention is the latest in a series of actions by Republicans to undermine the Voting Rights Act and attempt to kill what's left of the important legislation. The RNC is currently involved in 29 open ballot cases across the country, according to Democracy Docket's database.

Read the order allowing the RNC to intervene here.

You can read the motion for intervention here.

Read more about the case here.