Georgia senators have nifty new separate-but-equal idea for counting votes


It's the latest effort of Georgia Republicans to suppress votes that might not go their way.

Georgia Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler filed a lawsuit Thursday asking that the ballots of newly registered voters be reviewed and counted separately from those of other voters.

Perdue tweeted a statement about the lawsuit on Friday: "There is too much at stake in these elections for there to be any doubt in the integrity and transparency of their outcomes. Georgians will not tolerate double-voting and failures to address out-of-state voters attempting to influence the results of these elections. Immediate action is required to ensure that doesn't occur. We must secure the accuracy and integrity of the January run-offs, because all legal Georgia votes must be counted."

Georgia will hold two runoff elections on Jan. 5 to choose both of its U.S. senators. Incumbents Perdue and Loeffler face Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

The senators' lawsuit comes in response to unprecedented numbers of new registered voters ahead of the runoffs. Nearly 60% of those voters are under 35 years old, a demographic that voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Joe Biden in Georgia in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

This is just the latest in a long series of efforts by Georgia Republicans to suppress votes that might go to their opponents.

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled against Georgia's 12th Congressional District Republican Committee in a suit attempting to stop mail-in votes from being collected at drop boxes.

Another district judge also shot down the committee's push to impose further restrictions on the signature verification process for absentee ballots. Loeffler and Perdue themselves had signed on to this second lawsuit.

A third lawsuit aims to place further restrictions on drop boxes for mail-in ballots, allowing them to be used only during business hours.

Statistically, Democrats have been more likely to vote early or by mail during the pandemic.

The U.S. Elections Project notes that in the general election, in the 20 states that allow for reporting of party registration, 15% more Democrats voted early than Republicans.

NPR reported that data from the Georgia primary on June 9 indicated that availability of mail-in voting in the state led to a marked increase in Democratic turnout.

Republicans seem a bit uneasy about the outcome of the Jan. 5 runoff election, which will determine which party controls the Senate.

According to a New York Times report, two separate sources claim that in a private call to Senate Republicans Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed concerns that "Kelly and David are getting hammered," specifically because of their track record of opposition to sending out coronavirus relief checks.

New polls indicate that both Georgia races are neck and neck, with Perdue and Loeffler holding only a 3-point advantage over their opponents. Earlier polls this month showed Ossoff and Warnock in the lead.

Republicans have pulled out all the stops, sending in prominent GOP figures like Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. to Georgia to campaign for the Republican incumbents.

Neither Perdue's nor Loeffler's campaign responded immediately to a request for comment.

Updated to include a link to the lawsuit.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.