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Group will appeal court ruling that Georgia voter challenges don't violate federal law

ATLANTA (AP) — A group trying to stop voter challenges in Georgia says it will appeal a trial court ruling that such challenges don't violate federal voting rights law.

Fair Fight Action on Friday filed notice that it would ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court's ruling. Democratic lawyer Mark Elias said his firm would handle the appeal without charging Fair Fight.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled last month that Texas-based nonprofit True the Vote did not violate the Voting Rights Act when it announced it was challenging the eligibility of more than 360,000 Georgia voters just before a 2021 runoff election for two pivotal U.S. Senate seats.

Fair Fight, a voting rights group founded by former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, had sued True the Vote and several individuals, alleging that their actions violated a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that prohibits voter intimidation.

Although Jones ruled that True the Vote didn't intimidate or attempt to intimidate any particular voter, he expressed concerns about the group’s methods. Jones wrote that its list of voters to be challenged “utterly lacked reliability” and “verges on recklessness.”

In the weeks after the November 2020 general election, then-President Donald Trump and his supporters were promoting false claims of widespread voter fraud that had cost him the election. In Georgia, two U.S. Senate races that would ultimately decide control of the Senate were headed for an early January runoff election.

True the Vote announced the voter challenges saying it believed voters no longer lived in districts where they were registered and were ineligible to vote there.

Georgia election officials rejected only a few dozen ballots cast in the runoff, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock went on to beat Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler by tens of thousands of votes, securing Senate control for their party.