GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A federal judge has ordered Tuesday Gwinnett County officials must count absentee ballots where the applicants either made an error on or omitted their birth date.
This ruling comes after a lawsuit by civil rights and voting groups and Democratic House candidate Carolyn Bourdeaux, which argued that Gwinnett County's rejection of 1,000 absentee ballots for "trivial reasons" violated federal law.
In the ruling, United States District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that Gwinnett County can not reject "absentee ballots containing an error or omission relating to the absentee voter's year of birth" and must "to delay certification until such ballots have been counted."
May pointed out that her ruling "applies to only a small portion of the outstanding absentee ballots," pointing that around 265 ballots had voters omitting their year of birth and 58 rejected "because voters erroneously wrote that they were born in 2018.
According to Georgia's Secretary of State's Office, Bourdeaux is trailing by incumbent Republican Rep. Rob Woodall by around 900 votes.
In a statement Monday night, Woodall said it was "disappointing" that groups "have gone to federal court to try to overrule our local, bipartisan officials."
"It is not lost on anyone that there are two counties in my district, and no one is filing a lawsuit to try to find more votes in the more conservative one," Woodall said. "If federal judges rather than bipartisan election boards become the arbiter of local elections, all in our community will be the lesser for it."
The ruling comes after a different federal judge blocked the Secretary of State’s Office from certifying the election until Friday and ordered both state and local officials to review many of the provisional ballots.