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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the election overhaul into law in March. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

A federal judge declined on Wednesday to block parts of Georgia's controversial election law that had been challenged in a lawsuit, but didn't rule out the possibility of doing so in the future, ABC News reports.

Why it matters: The ruling comes just as Georgia is slated to hold two runoff elections next week. Wednesday's decision is the first court ruling to uphold the new law, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Critics argue it curbs voting access, particularly for voters of color.

State of play: Georgia's election law overhaul, passed in March, includes measures shortening the period in which voters can request absentee ballots, limiting drop boxes, imposing new identification requirements, and passing greater control of election administration to the state legislature.

  • Eight federal lawsuits are currently challenging the law, including one brought by the Department of Justice, arguing the legislation discriminates against Black voters.
  • In challenging parts of the law, activists argue it criminalizes standard election observation activities and could intimidate voters, and that the tighter absentee ballot deadline makes it "virtually impossible to request an absentee ballot for a runoff," according to ABC News.

The big picture: U.S. District Judge Jean-Paul "J.P." Boulee wrote in his decision that he wouldn’t "change the law in the ninth inning" before the runoffs, but "reserved judgment" about future elections, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • Boulee added that striking down parts of the law ahead of runoffs on June 15 would disrupt the "administration of an ongoing election" and sow "confusion" among voters, ABC News reports.

Go deeper

Justice Department again urges courts to suspend Texas abortion law

People rally in support of abortion rights in New York City on Oct. 2. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The Department of Justice asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday to suspend Texas' new law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: Medical providers in the state briefly resumed performing abortions last week after a federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional, though it was temporarily reinstated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Scoop: Jeff Flake seeds new voting nonprofit

Jeff Flake. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Former Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who's now President Biden's nominee to be ambassador to Turkey, is funding a nonprofit focused on election processes in his home state of Arizona, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Arizona is ground-zero for election conspiracy theories. While those behind the Public Integrity Foundation say that's not the impetus for the group, they hope it will address some of the underlying issues.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.