Legal battles over voting laws are poised to play a decisive role Tuesday in some states with tight races. Controversial statutes in Arizona and North Dakota have been challenged in federal court in recent months, with judges handing down rulings that are expected to keep thousands of voters from casting a ballot on Election Day. And while voting rights groups were able to get relief for Georgia voters in high-profile disputes over the state’s “exact match” registration verification process, the courtroom drama has catapulted a hotly contested gubernatorial race into the national spotlight. If elected, Stacey Abrams (D) would become the first black female governor in U.S. history. Edward Foley, director of the Election Law program at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, said voting procedures perceived to be hostile to minority voters have backfired in the past. “It can actually increase turnout among groups that are purportedly targeted,” he said.
Voting rights groups say the exact match verification process disenfranchises minorities, who traditionally vote Democratic.
Federal district court judges have ordered Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp, who is white, to give more than 51,000 voters a chance to prove their citizenship after they were initially deemed ineligible. His office was also told to stop tossing out absentee ballots and applications for voters whose signature does not match the one on the state’s voter rolls without giving voters a chance to correct the discrepancy.