Alleging that the state “doesn’t give enough time for members of the military overseas to receive and return ballots”, the Justice Department is contending that, though Georgia ballots are made available at least 45 days before the election, more time is necessary for said ballots to be shipped back to America, and subsequently counted.
Their proposal? An extension of seven working days for the state of Georgia to declare a winner; in turn, primary runoffs on August 21st would not be officially decided until August 31st.
The move would apply strictly to federal elections, solely congressional runoffs in this cycle.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has denounced the measure, and a statement from his office had this to say:
If the DOJ was earnest, they would have previously contacted us about their concerns rather than sending a notice of a lawsuit a month before the Primary Election. Georgia is literally in the middle of the 2012 Primary. Currently, ballots have been printed and absentee voters (military and overseas included) are voting, while the DOJ is attempting to twist the State’s arm into agreeing to a consent decree, the terms of which would place unnecessary stresses on the elections administration process, before even filing the lawsuit.
As Jim Galloway notes, should the DOJ get its way, the impact will likely be hardest felt in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 12th district, where 4 Republicans are clashing for the right to take on targeted Democrat John Barrow. The DOJ’s threat follows the announcement that the NRCC alone is investing $900,000 in defeating Barrow. Should the primary head to runoff, as it likely will, a muddled finish “could work to Barrow’s advantage”.
- Brandon Howell