In August 2022, SCOTUS dropped into an election law case in Georgia that claimed to protect Black voters, and they used their supreme power to temporarily stop an election in Georgia, reviving the ruling from a federal judge that said the state had disadvantaged black voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
One Republican is saying it will help the Democrats gain a seat, and some people see GA SOS Brad Raffensperger sitting on his hands.
Earlier in August, local GA news reported:
In a significant victory for voting rights groups, a federal judge has ruled that the at-large method for electing Georgia’s Public Service Commission dilutes Black votes and violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The ruling will immediately stop Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger from preparing ballots for the November elections that include the District 2 and District 3 races for the PSC.
Leftist organization of election usurper, Marc Elias, ‘Democracy Docket’ reported at the time:
“UPDATE: On Aug. 19, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) withdrew his motion to stay the injunction pending appeal, meaning that elections for the Public Service Commission will not be held this November. An appeal will continue to be litigated before the 11th Circuit.”
The case began in Georgia when a group of Black leaders sued the state, claiming the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a redistricting plan last year that dilutes the Black vote in two of the five PSC districts.
The New York Times reported that about a third of Georgians are Black, but Black voters are in a majority in District 3, which is made up of counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Four Black voters from that district sued to challenge statewide elections for commissioners, saying the practice violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting their power to elect candidates of their choice.
Judge Steven D. Grimberg of the Federal District Court in Atlanta, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, agreed, ruling that elections for the two commission seats on the ballot in November could not proceed until state lawmakers eliminated statewide elections for them. The current commissioners, he said, would remain in their positions in the meantime.
Tim Echols, the Jackson County Republican who represents Athens on the Georgia Public Service Commission, is warning that Democrats may be able to pick up some seats as a result of the ruling.
“In an unsigned order without noted dissents, the justices wrote that an appeals court’s reason for staying the judge’s ruling — that it had come too close to the election in November — was flawed because state officials had told the judge that there was enough time to make the required adjustments. The Supreme Court vacated the stay and returned the case to the appeals court for reconsideration,” the New York Times reported.
“The court’s order was an exception to what legal experts say is a growing trend: a near-categorical ban on late changes to state election procedures even when those changes have been ruled necessary to address illegal infringements of the right to vote. But the exception was based on an unusual concession from state officials and therefore may not have larger implications,” the Times report added.
Echols warned that his seat and that of fellow PSC member Fitz Johnson will not be on the November election ballot and could put them in jeopardy.
“Echols says the legislature will likely have to change the election law before the next PSC elections can be held. Both Echols and Johnson were to have Democratic challengers in elections that will take place nine weeks from today,” local news station WGAU reported.
“Echols also slammed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Melynee Leftridge for ruling that Democrat Patty Durand can be on the ballot for the November election for a seat on the GSC,” Martin Walsh reported for Republic Brief.
There had been questions about her residency in the District she’s running to represent, the PSC district that includes Athens. That post is held by Echols.
“Durand, who is not a plaintiff in the voting rights case, previously lived in Gwinnett County, which was in District 2. Then, before candidate qualifying earlier this year, state lawmakers passed redrawn district maps for all five PSC seats and moved Gwinnett County out of District 2,” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
“On the eve of the May primary, Raffensperger disqualified Durand from the race, arguing she had not lived in the new District 2 long enough to be eligible. But on Election Day, Leftridge allowed Durand to stay on the primary ballot,” the outlet continued.
Durand’s attorney, Bryan Sells, admitted she has not lived in the district long enough to be eligible. However, he attempted to claim Durand is a victim being targeted by Republicans.
“The move was a rare example of the conservative court siding with voters over state officials in disputes regarding election rules, especially when the court is asked to act on an emergency basis. The Supreme Court restored a district court ruling requiring that this year’s election for two of the commission seats be postponed so that the legislature could create a new system for electing commissioners,” CNN reported.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger can appeal the case to the Georgia Supreme Court depending.