A federal judge in Georgia struck down a lawsuit from state Republicans seeking to prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes for voting in Jan. 5’s runoff elections. The lawsuit contended that the process of “signature matching,” as well as the ballot drop boxes, facilitated widespread electoral fraud. “The court finds that those claims are simply based on speculation, highly speculative issues,” Judge J. Randal Hall, a George W. Bush appointee, said Thursday. Allegations of widespread ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election have been repeatedly rejected in federal court, as well as by departing Attorney General William Barr, a close ally of the president.
The runoff elections—which pit incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler against Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively—could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years. Judge Hall cited the fact that early voting began on Monday in his decision. “We are not on the eve of an election, we are—as it relates to this particular election—closing in on halftime,” he said.