After two counties in Georgia attempted to remove thousands of voters from registration lists by using unreliable data from national change of address forms, a federal judge ruled that the attempt to disenfranchise those voters was inappropriate and illegal.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner (who is also the sister of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams) ruled Monday against the steps taken by officials in Muscogee County and Ben Hill Counties Oust residents from registering to vote. Their decision ensures that more than 4,000 voters remain registered in these counties so they can vote in the upcoming Senate runoff in the state scheduled for next week.

Most of these 4,000 voters come from the heavily democratic Muscogee County. President-elect Joe Biden, who won the state by less than 12,000 votes overall, won that county with a margin of 24 percent about President Donald Trump. Around 150 voters will put their names back on the registration lists in Ben Hill County, which Trump won by around 16 percent over Biden.

Both boroughs’ committees relied on removing voters from the lists for dubious reasons, arguing unfounded that the address change proved that residents had moved out of the state without properly notifying those affected. In fact, at the time the voters were purged, the attorney who advised the Ben Hill County Board said the purged names “could not be verified, the list would not be allowed in court, and there were better legal remedies” to to confirm whether the voters were properly registered or not, Gardner found her opinion.

Gardner also stated that the purge was inappropriate for another reason: similar types of voter registration removal under the National Voter Registration Act cannot take place within 90 days of an upcoming election.

The case that Gardner ruled on is divided by four civil rights groups seek to restore voting rights to nearly 200,000 other residents in Georgiawho were exempted from registration lists prior to this year’s races using similar tactics. This lawsuit hopes to restore those registrations in time for the January 5 runoff elections.

Though Gardner’s decision only affects around 4,000 voters, it could prove critical in the runoff elections in which incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The latest polls for both races are very close aggregated numbers from This shows that these are currently statistical ties.

According to the calculations of this site, Perdue is currently 0.8 percent ahead of Ossoff, while Warnock Loeffler only leads 0.1 percent. Both races are within the error limits that the site used in their calculations.

Weeks ago, Georgia broke the records for personal voting for the stitch races. Starting this week Around 2.1 million residents of the state have already voted.

The two races are of great national importance as they determine which political party will have control of the U.S. Senate in the next term. If both Democratic candidates win, there will be a 50:50 tie in the upper chamber of Congress, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the casting vote. If only one of the two Republican candidates wins, control of the Senate will remain with the GOP.

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