A sweeping lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and mismanagement in Georgia’s 2018 elections can move forward, U.S district judge Steve Jones ruled Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed by Fair Fight, an organization created by former Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams. It cites issues that came up in the Georgia midterms, like polling place closures, voter purges, poor training, and registration issues.
Abrams lost the governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp by about 55,000 votes.
Kemp was Georgia’s top election official at the time. He faced accusations of restricting voting access for people of color, which he denies.
Lawyers for Georgia’s current Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger, argued there isn’t any evidence of discrimination, and they told judge Jones that an election reform law Kemp signed in April makes the case moot.
But the judge appeared to disagree, and he wrote in an order that Abrams’ organization, Fair Fight, had presented evidence of people being denied the right to vote.
“This ruling is a significant victory for voting rights in Georgia and across the country,” Fair Fight CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo said in a statement. “We look forward to immediately beginning the discovery phase and learning even more about the many ways Georgians have had their votes suppressed, and we are hopeful that the case will result in meaningful reforms that improve our elections system.”
Raffensperger’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.