ATLANTA — On Monday evening, joined by voters, community leaders, and members of its trial team, Fair Fight Action addressed the significance of reaching the first day of trial in Fair Fight Action v. Raffensperger, three years after the historic suit began.
Along with a coalition of plaintiffs, Fair Fight Action is asking the Court to enforce constitutional and statutory protections of the right to vote and correct violations of federal law.
The Fair Fight Action v. Raffensperger lawsuit is an opportunity to achieve real change on behalf of voters and would-be voters from across the state of Georgia who face obstacles trying to exercise their right to vote. Through trial, Fair Fight Action and its co-plaintiffs will argue that the Secretary of State and State Election Board have engaged, and continue to engage, in practices that infringe upon various rights guaranteed under federal law, including the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, freedom from racial discrimination in voting in the Fifteenth Amendment, the promise of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the protection from racially discriminatory voting practices afforded by Section Two of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The breadth of the constitutional and statutory challenges to the State’s election practices reflects the gravity of the problems Georgians face when trying to become registered to vote, cast a ballot, and have their ballot counted. The trial, which will cover plaintiffs’ several constitutional claims and their claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, is expected to last approximately four weeks.
Excerpted press conference remarks from lead attorney for Fair Fight Action Allegra Lawrence-Hardy:
“After repeated attempts by the state to silence the voices of the voters by asking the court to throw this lawsuit out multiple times, these Georgians refused to be sidelined.”
“These voters are finally going to have their stories told in the first voting rights case tried on the merits in the Northern District of Georgia in over a decade. This case is also among the first full trials involving a claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after the Supreme Court’s Brnovich decision.”
“Throughout this trial we will demonstrate the numerous and various choices available to the Secretary of State and State Election Board to protect access to the ballot and cultivate uniform practices across the state so that an eligible voter can be as successful in making their voice heard in one county as in another.”
The practices challenged in this case permeate every stage of the voting process and they compound the obstacles Georgians face when trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
“It is a true privilege for every member of this trial team to join with the brave voters, the brave would-be voters, and the persistent volunteers who advocate on behalf of the powerful, diverse, and dedicated organizations represented by those who stand here with me.Their perseverance–and yes their faith–have brought them through voting challenges and over three years of litigation, through Covid-19, through motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment and trials being reset–to this day. And we look forward to using these next few weeks to amplify their voices and share their experiences.”
Watch additional opening remarks from Fair Fight Action lead attorney Allegra Lawrence-Hardy here.
Additional quotes from local and national coverage following our first day at trial can be found below.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “‘Through no fault of their own, eligible voters in Georgia face roadblock after roadblock as they try to exercise their right to vote, as we witnessed in 2018 and have continued to witness over the years since,’ said Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, the lead attorney for plaintiffs including the voting group Fair Fight Action. ‘It just shouldn’t be this hard to cast a vote that counts in Georgia.’”
NBC News: “Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, an attorney for Fair Fight Action and other plaintiffs, said at a news conference Monday night that her team told the court ‘how, through deliberate choices, the secretary of state and State Election Board have erected a series of roadblocks — roadblocks that impose unjustifiable burdens on eligible voters and would-be voters in violation of both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. The practices challenged in this case permeate every stage of the voting process, and they compound the obstacles Georgians face when trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote,’ she added.”
Courthouse News Service: “‘We heard from 80,000 of those Georgians. These brave Georgians led us to file this lawsuit, and over three years later, after repeated attempts by the state to silence their voices by asking the court to throw this lawsuit out, they refused to be sidelined,’ Lawrence-Hardy said. ‘So we are finally here for the first voting rights case to be tried on the merits in the Northern District of Georgia in over a decade. We are honored to fight for Georgians today and we are grateful to the Georgians who persevered in this fight.’”
Watch the full opening press conference here.