Tuesday August 16th, 2022 7:03AM

Miller, one of several legislators subpoenaed in election bill lawsuit

By Jonathan O'Brien Anchor/Reporter

GAINESVILLE — Several North Georgia lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, have been subpoenaed in a lawsuit over Georgia's election bill, court documents show. 

The documents obtained by AccessWDUN show in addition to Miller, Senators Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia, and Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, and Rep. Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee, were also subpoenaed.

"This was a standard part of the discovery process," said Rahul Garabadu, voting rights attorney for the ACLU of Georgia. "We filed these subpoenas on behalf of the consolidated plaintiffs across all of the federal lawsuits that are challenging SB 202. Under federal law and constitutional claims."

In addition to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense, and law firms Wilmer-Hale and Davis Wright Tremaine are suing the state over the elections bill passed in 2021. 

In a Thursday afternoon Facebook post, Miller laid the responsibility for the subpoena at the feet of Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams. "She's accusing me of voter suppression for passing our election law, and this arrives during RECORD TURNOUT," the post stated. 

Garabadu confirmed the suit has no connection to any lawsuit filed by Stacey Abrams or her organization, Fair Fight Georgia. 

"Our clients are nonpartisan organizations, including historically black churches, community organizations, and disability rights organizations," he told AccessWDUN. "We are filing that lawsuit on behalf of those groups." 

The lawsuit argues that it disproportionately affects minority and disabled voters. The Republican-controlled legislature passed the measure in the wake of the 2020 election in which unproven claims of widespread fraud spurred many states to pass new restrictive voting laws. 

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit just a few days after the passage of SB 202. The judge denied a previous attempt last December to have the case dismissed. 

As a top Senate leader, Miller would've been involved in crafting the bill. Repeated attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful. Miller is currently locked in a close race for the GOP nomination for Lt. Governor. 

The suit targets specific elements of the law like the limits on absentee ballot dropboxes and restrictions on passing out food and water to voters waiting in long lines. Garabadu said their suit challenges the law using sections of the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Constitution's First, 14th and 15th Amendments. 

"Right now, we're collecting evidence to support our claims, and we're looking forward to going forward in this case and proving our claims in court," Garabadu said. 

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Elections, Butch Miller, ACLU, federal lawsuit, SB 202
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