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Federal judge throws out GOP Georgia lawsuit that aimed to remove absentee ballot drop boxes

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On the third day into early voting for Georgia’s side-by-side U.S. Senate runoff elections, a federal judge Thursday dismissed a case brought by Republicans that sought to scrap absentee ballot drop boxes, Fox News reports, saying that fraud concerns at this stage in the runoffs are “highly speculative.”

In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, centered in Augusta, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by the 12th Congressional District Republican Committee. The plaintiffs had no standing, the judge said, and also saying that courts shouldn’t alter election rules so close to an election, according to Fox News.

Both of Georgia’s January 5 races are key to Democrats and Republicans post-2020 election political efforts. If Democrats sweep both seats, they would have 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate and have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, which would make confirming President-elect Joe Biden‘s Cabinet nominees easier for them. On the other end, Republicans want to maintain their slim majority, fearing that Democratic victories in the Peach State could allow for Biden to successfully appoint officials farther to the left of the Democratic establishment.

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While absentee voting has been happening for a couple of weeks in the state, early in-person voting at polling stations commenced on Monday. More than 900,000 Georgians have already voted in the dual races, according to the state’s latest data, with 427,000 of those votes being cast through absentee ballots.

The thrown-out case alleged that procedures used to process absentee ballots during November’s general election–such as signature matching and ballot drop boxes–could open the door for widespread fraud in the runoffs, Fox News reports.

On top of that, the lawsuit also asked that local election officials be forbidden from opening ballot envelopes prior to January 5. Additionally, per Fox News, the suit also sought to discredit guidance from the Secretary of State’s Office on the correct way officials needed to verify signatures on absentee ballots.

Chief Judge Randall Hall, who was nominated to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush, found the plaintiff’s allegations of voter fraud “highly speculative.”

“I have real concerns about whether this court […]should even entertain this action at this point,” said Hall. “[…]Fraud concerns at this stage are all highly speculative.”

“We are not even on the eve of an election,” Hall said in striking down the case. “We are, as it relates to this particular election, closing in on halftime.”

This case is the latest in a series of failed attempts from Republicans to challenge the election results and rules in key swing states after November 3. Despite a massive but doomed lawsuit being thrown out of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday and the Electoral College officially elected Biden to be the next president, President Donald Trump refuses to concede and continues to allege that widespread election fraud occurred, repeatedly claiming that the election was stolen.

RELATED: McConnell congratulates Biden on election victory, draws criticism from some conservatives

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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There is ‘repeated evidence’ of non-citizens voting

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There is “repeated evidence” of non-citizens voting, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said during an appearance on Breitbart News Daily, discussing the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act.

“Let me just say this about the overall state of the election issue,” Roy began, explaining that “we’ve got repeated evidence of those who are here illegally — or, or whether they’re here legally — but non-citizens voting.”

“We’ve got studies demonstrating that. We’ve got evidence that it may have tipped the election for Al Franken and his election back in Minnesota. Objective studies have showed…Virginia tossing out 1,500 registered voters just last year. I can go through a laundry list. We’ve got local jurisdictions — Oakland, San Francisco, our nation’s capital in Washington, DC, and New York City — who are registering voters specifically for their state and local elections, but we know that they don’t work hard to make sure they’re not voting in federal elections,” he said, noting that “federal law prohibits [and] limits the ability of states to be able to check and ensure citizenship, so much so that the state of Arizona has to run two systems — one for their state local elections and one for their federal elections.”

“They’re literally bifurcated because they want to ensure citizenship for their state and local elections, but they’re not allowed to for federal elections. Therefore, we need to fix the problem,” he said.

Breitbart News adds:

Further, Roy said, because of the Motor Voter Act — the National Voter Registration Act — passed in the 1990s, the courts have interpreted federal laws to limit the state’s ability to “determine and collect the information necessary for determining and checking citizenship.”

Essentially, Roy said the U.S. has set up a system that requires federal agencies to push out the forms, encouraging individuals to register to vote. And while they ask one to identify if they are a citizen, and while federal law requires one to be a citizen to vote in federal elections, the congressman said there is nothing there to actually check citizenship.

The SAVE Act would help address these issues and correct what Roy described as the “glitch,” making it so every state would require anyone applying to register to vote to prove their citizenship.

“By doing that, though, it is correcting the glitch. It also goes through and it addresses some of the issues that have been complicated. There are states, for example, like North Dakota, which does not have voter registration at all, okay? So they can just show up to vote and don’t have registration…They have their own rules there about what you have to present in order just to vote. And that’s obviously a less populated state than, say, California or Texas or New York or Florida. But, so, we adapt and try to adjust to help with those kinds of situations. But, overall, the purpose of the bill is exactly as you just described, pretty simple,” Roy said. This is a bipartisan issue with massive support.

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