Voter registration for the 6th Congressional District runoff election on June 20 has been reopened at the order of a federal court. Registration will remain open through May 21.

The Georgia Secretary of State had previously declared that only people who had already registered to vote in the April 18 special election could vote in the runoff. A group of civil rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit saying that violates the National Voter Registration Act.

In a May 4 order, Judge Timothy Batten of the U.S. District Court for North Georgia agreed and ordered the reopening of voter registration.

“Would-be voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District were denied a full and fair opportunity to register and vote under the prior law,” said a written statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represented the civil rights groups along with a team of private attorneys. “Today’s decision extending the voter registration deadline helps ensure that eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming runoff election, and in all future runoff elections for federal office. States like Georgia must stop taking actions that suppresses the rights of voters.”

In the June 20 runoff election, Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are battling for the seat in Congress. The 6th Congressional District includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

For voter registration information, see the Secretary of State’s website at Citizens with any questions about the reopened registration period can call Lawyers’ Committee-administrated “Election Protection” hotline at 866-678-8683.

The court’s order was a preliminary emergency injunction, not a final legal decision. In the injunction order, Batten wrote that he issued it due to the civil rights groups’ likelihood of winning the case and the seriousness of people possibly losing their legal right to vote.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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