GEORGIA RUNOFFS: Republican signature matching injunction denied by appeals court, citing state constitution

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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger - Dustin Chambers | Reuters

The Georgia Republican Party suffered a big loss on Sunday after an appeals court denied an injunction to put enhanced signature matching procedures in place ahead of the upcoming Senate runoff.

In the injunction, Republicans urged a district court to “conduct a meaningful signature matching process” where a minimum of three election officials will review voter signatures on absentee ballots by checking them against reference signatures. It was also requested that parties participating in the election be able to monitor the signature verification process.

“Like in Jacobson, the campaigns sued the secretary of state. They alleged that the secretary is the state’s chief election officer, that he has the authority and responsibility to manage Georgia’s electoral system, and that he, along with the election board members, has the duty to promulgate rules and regulations to obtain uniformity in the practices of election officials and to ensure fair, legal, and orderly conduction of elections,” said the three-judge panel.

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It further added, “But, just as in Jacobson, the absentee ballot statute puts the duty to ‘compare the signature’ and accept or reject a ballot on the ‘registrar or clerk’—not the secretary of state.”

In other words, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger lacks the legal authority to implement signature verification procedures per the Georgia constitution, effectively making the Republican injunction a moot point.

The three-judge panel consisted of Obama nominee Beverly Martin, Trump nominee Robert Luck, and Clinton nominee Charles Wilson.

For Republicans, the denial of the injunction marks another crushing loss in the face of U.S. courts. On the national level, President Trump’s lawsuits have not fared much better, having been denied repeatedly by the Supreme Court.

Suffice it to say the Georgia GOP can feel its collar tightening as the final outcome of the runoff election is largely unpredictable. After all, Joe Biden managed to beat Trump in Georgia, an outcome most thought was highly unlikely in the Deep South – a traditional Republican stronghold.

If Sens. Loeffler and Purdue fail to best their opponents, the Senate will reach a 50/50 split with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker, which effectively means Democrats gaining control of the Senate, the last bulwark for Republicans to control any legislation.

Election day is set for Jan. 5. Until then, Republicans across the country will have to anxiously await the final results.

Are we on the cusp of a full Democratic majority with its finger on the scales of all three branches of government? Quite possibly.

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