Judge blocks photography ban in Georgia’s new election law

Source – Associated Press – https://apnews.com/article/

August 23, 2021

“ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge has found that a part of Georgia’s sweeping new election law that broadly prohibits the photographing of a voted ballot is likely unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee on Friday granted a preliminary injunction on that section of the law, meaning it cannot be enforced for now. In the same order, he declined to block a number of other provisions that mostly have to do with monitoring or photographing parts of the election process.

The judge’s order came in a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity group, and others. Boulee wrote that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit “have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim” that the broad ban on photographing a voted ballot in both public and nonpublic places violates their First Amendment rights.

The judge noted that another Georgia law provides for a general ban on photography in a polling place during voting, meaning that it’s not legal to take a picture of a ballot in a polling place.

The new law, known as SB 202, also adds a voter ID requirement for mail ballots, shortens the time period for requesting a mail ballot, results in fewer ballot drop boxes available in metro Atlanta and gives the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials.”


Judge’s Order:

Having reviewed and fully considered the papers and evidence submitted in
connection with Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 15), the
Court GRANTS the Motion with respect to Photography Rule II

State Defendants are hereby enjoined from
enforcing Photography Rule II until further order of the Court.

The Court recognizes that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary
remedy that should be granted sparingly, especially when it enjoins enforcement of
a statute, but finds it is appropriate here given the constitutional rights at stake and
Plaintiffs’ satisfaction of the requisite burden.

SO ORDERED this 20th day of August, 2021.