FIGHTING AGAINST VOTER INTIMIDATION: FAIR FIGHT, INC. V. TRUE THE VOTE
Fair Fight, Inc. is challenging the suppressive tactics of Texas-based organization, True the Vote, and its attempts to intimidate thousands of Georgia voters through illegal voter challenges intended to keep Georgians from exercising their fundamental right to vote.
Defendants filed counterclaims against Plaintiffs, as well as a claim against Fair Fight Action and Stacey Abrams, alleging that Fair Fight, Fair Fight Action, and Stacey Abrams violated Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act. Defendants based their allegations on Fair Fight’s lawsuit against Defendants, statements made by Stacey Abrams, and statements made by Fair Fight’s attorney, Marc Elias. Defendants alleged the statements and the lawsuit violated Section 11(b) because they were intended to intimidate Defendants from bringing voter challenges, and Defendants alleged that participation in voter challenges is constitutionally protected under the fundamental right to vote.
Fair Fight and Fair Fight Action filed a motion to dismiss Defendants’ counterclaim/claim, and argued that bringing mass voter challenges was not constitutionally-protected activity. After consideration of the Parties’ briefs, the Court granted Fair Fight and Fair Fight Action’s motion to dismiss, and held that neither Fair Fight’s lawsuit nor the statements made by Stacey Abrams and Marc Elias could be considered intimidating or threatening under Section 11(b). Because of the Court’s Order dismissing Defendants’ counterclaim/claim, no counterclaims exist against Fair Fight, and there are no claims against Fair Fight Action or Stacey Abrams.
Discovery has ended in the case and summary judgment briefing is due May 16, 2022.
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ABOUT THE CASE:
Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”) outlaws any acts that are objectively likely to intimidate voters. Knowing the history of voter suppression and intimidation in this country, and particularly the state of Georgia, True the Vote and the other defendants in the lawsuit took affirmative steps to intimidate voters and try to keep them from voting in violation of § 11(b) of the VRA.
In the wake of the 2020 General Election, which saw historic turnout across the country, elected officials unhappy with the election results attempted to curb voter enthusiasm and this country’s expanding participation in the political process by perpetuating and fostering the Big Lie that election results were due to voter fraud. Although courts and elections officials across the country (and in Georgia) repeatedly found claims of widespread voter fraud to be wholly without merit, Defendants used the Big Lie as the basis to launch preemptive attacks to challenge the eligibility to vote of more than 364,000 Georgians in advance of the senate run-off, many of whom were Black and brown voters and first-time voters, on the grounds that these voters no longer reside in the State of Georgia. The challenges were false and meritless, and based on purported lists of names culled from the U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address (“NCOA”) registry— a notoriously unreliable means of determining voter eligibility. In their challenges, Defendants also failed to consider the numerous reasons an individual may file a NCOA form, yet still be eligible to vote in Georgia, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.
To address the violations of federal law, Fair Fight, Inc. has sought relief from the federal court. Fair Fight is demanding that the court declare Defendants’ actions illegal, enjoin Defendants’ activities, and require True the Vote to cease all operations in Georgia.