By Janita Kan
The attorney whose efforts to block the certification of Georgia’s 2020 election results was rejected by a federal judge has filed an appeal to the 11th Circuit Court seeking an emergency review of the lower court’s decision.
Lin Wood, an attorney with President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, has escalated his efforts for an emergency request to prohibit the certification of the state’s election results or the tabulation of “defective absentee ballots.” He filed a notice informing the district court that he is appealing its decision to deny his emergency motion for relief to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
He said the request was made because the “Court erred in not granting the temporary restraining order for the unconstitutional, unlawful election,” according to a court filing (pdf). He also asked the court to consider the matter as a matter of urgency because presidential electors will meet on Dec. 14.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Grimberg dismissed Wood’s efforts to delay the vote certification in the state, ruling that the attorney lacked legal standing as an individual voter to challenge Georgia’s election procedures.
Wood filed a lawsuit (pdf) against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials on Nov. 13, arguing that an agreement between election officials and the state’s Democratic Party that changed the process of handling absentee ballots in Georgia is unconstitutional.
Under the U.S. Constitution, only state legislatures and Congress can prescribe the “times, places, and manner of holding elections.”
He argues that the state officials were unauthorized to change the manner of processing absentee ballots in a way that was contrary with the state election code, and hence, the counting of absentee ballots for the general election in the state is, therefore, “improper and must not be permitted.”
“To allow otherwise would erode the sacred and basic rights of Georgia citizens under the United States Constitution to participate in and rely upon a free and fair election,” Wood wrote.
The March 2020 agreement between Raffensperger, the State Election Board, and various state Democratic entities changed the way absentee ballots are processed in a way that isn’t consistent with election laws passed by the Georgia Legislature.
According to the agreement, county officials are required to form a committee of three people if any one official believes an absentee ballot is defective because the voter’s signature on the ballot envelope doesn’t match the signature on file. If a majority in the committee determines that the signature doesn’t match, it can then “reject” the ballot.
“Under the Litigation Settlement, any determination of a signature mismatch would lead to the cumbersome process described in the settlement, which was not intended by the Georgia Legislature, which authorized those decisions to be made by single election officials,” Wood argues in the lawsuit.
“The Litigation Settlement by itself has created confusion, misplaced incentives, and undermined the confidence of the voters of the State of Georgia in the electoral system. Neither it nor any of the activities spawned by it were authorized by the Georgia Legislature, as required by the United States Constitution.”
In response to Grimberg’s ruling, Wood characterized the judge’s ruling on his request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction as “unclear.”
“He may have overreached to dismiss my claim that the election was unlawful due to Georgia Secretary of State consent agreement,” Wood said in a statement on Twitter, referring to the March agreement.
“The recount issue was separate from unlawful election issue. Sounded like Court thinks a GA voter has NO standing to challenge unlawful federal election,” he wrote. “Lawyer for Secretary of State suggested only state Attorney General could do so. What? Attorney General represents Secretary of State. Makes no sense.”
On Monday, Wood served a subpoena on State Farm Arena, a ballot counting location in the state, seeking video footage filmed on the premises during and after Election Day.
The Trump campaign had requested a recount, which is expected to be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2.
Mimi Nguyen-Ly contributed to this report.