Stacey Abrams, already reeling from never making it to higher office, was dealt a crushing blow on Tuesday after she attempted to sue a conservative organization for allegedly trying to intimidate voters.
According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has issued a 145-page decision siding with True the Vote, which challenged voter qualifications for more than 250,000 Georgians registered to vote by Abrams’ organization in advance of the state’s 2021 U.S. Senate elections. Judge Jones concluded that the mass challenge by True the Vote did not amount to civil rights violations as Abrams alleged.
“Not only have plaintiffs failed to overcome the fact that their actions did not result in any direct voter contact or alone include or direct county boards of elections to pursue an eligibility inquiry, but there is no evidence that defendants’ actions caused (or attempted to cause) any voter to be intimidated, coerced, or threatened in voting,” Jones wrote.
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, celebrated the decision as a “resounding vindication.”
“Today’s ruling sends a clear message to those who would attempt to control the course of our nation through lawfare and intimidation. American citizens will not be silenced,” Engelbrecht said.
The win by True the Vote was not a clean one, however, as Judge Jones faulted the conservative organization for a messy submission of spreadsheets showing change-of-address forms submitted by hundreds of thousands of voters.
“TTV’s list utterly lacked reliability. Indeed, it verges on recklessness. The court has heard no testimony and seen no evidence of any significant quality control efforts, or any expertise guiding the data process,” Jones wrote. “It is clear that TTV did not engage in a quality process to create the list, nor did they have proper review or controls in place.”
Fair Fight, the voter registration organization founded by Abrams following her failed 2018 campaign for governor, challenged True the Vote’s activity in Georgia by arguing the conservative organization, which is based in Texas, was illegally attempting to suppress the vote during the elections of U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA).
“Fair Fight is disappointed that Georgians and voters nationwide must continue to wait for our federal courts to impose accountability in the face of widespread and mounting voter intimidation efforts,” Fair Fight Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid said. “In recent years, we have witnessed the erosion of our rights unfold on a national level. And the courts do not consistently provide the vindication and protection we seek.”
Jake Evans, an attorney for True the Vote, claimed the ruling would serve as a precedent about the protected activity of partisan organizations to participate in overseeing voter registration drives.
“This decision is monumental as it vindicates the defendants in totality and establishes that eligibility challenges … are a proper method to ensure voter rolls are accurate,” Evans said in a statement.
Many of Fair Fight’s most outlandish claims were rejected, including allegations that conservatives offered “bounty” money to voters and threatened to place Navy SEALs in front of polling locations. The loss builds on a previous decision against Fair Fight by Judge Jones who rejected its 2018 challenge to the state’s voting laws.