Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, sister of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams(D-GA), changed an order that she issued two days prior regarding the voting eligibility of 4,000 people in a Georgia County.
On Monday, Gardner had blocked challenges to voter eligibility in the Georgia counties – Muscogee County and Ben Hill County, ahead of Georgia’s runoff elections. The counties sought to require registered voters to cast provisional ballots due to a change of address recorded with the U.S. Postal Service.
Provisional ballots are given to people when eligibility is questioned or undetermined. The eligibility of such a person to vote is examined after their casting of provisional ballots.
CBS reported the initial challenge to the eligibility of over 4,000 voters registered in Muscogee county.
Democrats said that postal data is an unreliable indicator of a person leaving their local residence.
Gardner’s initial order ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Majority Forward. She ordered Muscogee and Ben Hill counties not to provide provisional ballots to the voters whose eligibility was challenged because of the U.S. Postal Service change of address.
Marc Elias, former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign attorney described Gardner’s original order as “victory over voter suppression.”
The revision by Gardner rescinds her previous order regarding Bell Hill while allowing Muscogee’s local officials to require registered voters with challenged eligibility to submit provisional ballots.
Gardner’s order included criteria for how the eligibility of registered voters casting provisional ballots is to be determined. She agrees with the Democrat’s characterizations of USPS data as an unreliable determinant of residence.
“The challenge to their eligibility will not be sustained absent specific evidence of ineligibility. Such specific evidence shall not include the appearance of a voter’s name or other information on the NCOA registry,” Gardner wrote in her order.
Registered voters later determined ineligible to vote must be advised by phone and in writing by 5:00 pm Eastern on January 6, Gardner added.
She refuses to recuse herself from the case, despite Gardner’s relation to Abrams – a figurehead of the Democrat political and related legal campaigns in Georgia.
Gardner described calls for her recusal based on familial conflict of interest as “unsupported, irrational, and highly tenuous,” Challenges to her impartiality are dismissed as “mere speculation” and “unsupported by any facts.”