Federal judges in Georgia dismissed two Republican lawsuits on Thursday—one in Augusta and the second in Atlanta—which challenged absentee ballot rules ahead of the crucial Jan. 5 Senate runoffs, according to reports.
In the Augusta lawsuit, the Twelfth District Republicans argued that rules imposed months ago to allow counties to set up ballot drop boxes and let election officials open ballots before Election Day violate state laws and the U.S. Constitution, the report notes. The plaintiffs claimed these rules open the door to potential voter fraud and ballot harvesting. They also argued for stricter rules on signature verification.
Hall said that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that the court shouldn’t change the rules so close to the election.
“We are not even on the eve of an election,” Hall said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are, as it relates to this particular election, closing in on halftime.”
The judge also said the plaintiffs were not able to show specific harm brought about by the current rules.
The Senate runoff, which pits Perdue and Loeffler against Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, is key for both parties, with control of the upper chamber hanging in the balance. Republicans currently hold 50 seats in the Senate, meaning Democrats need to win both runoffs and also prevail in the contested presidential election to gain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.