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Voters stand in line to cast their ballots during the first day of early voting in the US Senate runoff at the Gwinnett Fairgrounds, Dec. 14, 2020. Photo: Tami Chappell / AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday denied motions to dismiss lawsuits over Georgia's voting law that restricts voter across the state.

Why it matters: Legal challenges emerged from several civil rights groups and the Department of Justice after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the state's election law in March.

  • The Georgia law imposes new ID requirements, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, changes early voting hours and more.

The big picture: U.S. District Judge Jean-Paul "J.P." Boulee ordered Thursday for the lawsuits to move forward after the state of Georgia challenged the cases claiming that they should've been thrown out.

  • Boulee found that the lawsuits will be determined after facts and evidence are presented.

What they're saying: “As the litigation proceeds, we believe it will become even clearer how S.B. 202 was based on a false and dangerous narrative about past elections, erects unlawful barriers to voting, and places undue burdens on Georgians," said Poy Winichakul, staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • Winichakul called on the Senate to "strengthen democracy at home and pass without delay the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."
  • "Georgia’s anti-voter law makes it harder to vote for Georgia’s citizens of color and citizens with disabilities, and we look forward to continue to fight this law in court," said Rahul Garabadu, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Go deeper

House passes voting rights bill

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed voting rights legislation, approving a measure that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.

Driving the news: The package will be sent to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle because of Republican opposition. Democrats are considering changing the Senate's filibuster rules to pass the bill.

Democrats take voting rights fight to state-level races

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Photos: Natalie Kolb/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images (left); Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Democratic gubernatorial candidates are unveiling their own voting rights plans ahead of this fall's midterms.

Why it matters: Congressional Democrats have, so far, failed to deliver federal legislation. Because Republicans have succeeded in introducing restrictions at the state and local levels, the ability to vote in 2022 will largely depend on where a person lives. That makes state executive races a high priority for both parties.

Absentee drop boxes can't be used in Wisconsin, judge rules

Volunteers assist a voter at an early voting ballot drop-off location in Milwaukee, Wis. April 2, 2020. Photo: Thomas Werner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A judge in Wisconsin ruled on Thursday that absentee ballot drop boxes cannot be used in the state.

State of play: Absentee ballots can be returned via mail or in person, but under state law, drop boxes are not allowed, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren said.

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