Republicans in Georgia are outraged after a federal judge squashed their attempt to disqualify more than 4,000 voters ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs. According to WRBL, the court issued a temporary restraining order on Monday, blocking the plans of the election boards in Ben Hill County and Muscogee County, who aimed to remove names of people whom they claimed had moved out of state. 

In the attempt to disqualify “targeted voters," people who allegedly changed their address, the election boards relied on unverified data obtained from the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. Majority Forward, a voter outreach organization, challenged the boards’ “targeted voter” decisions, saying the registry cannot be the basis for challenging the eligibility of lawfully registered voters.

"These flagrant and partisan attempts at voter suppression are part of a well-publicized attack on over 360,000 voters across the State of Georgia, initiated by True the Vote, a Texas-based organization, which has partnered with challengers in Ben Hill, Muscogee, and other counties to submit lists of registered voters whose names purportedly appear in the United States Postal Service’s National Change of Address (“NCOA”) database," Majority Forward stated in its lawsuit against the board. 

The complaint was also filed on behalf of Gamaliel Warren Turner, Sr., a permanent Georgia resident and Muscogee County voter who temporarily moved to California for a contract position with the U.S. Navy, 11Alive reported

"Mr. Turner is a Targeted Voter and his absentee ballot request has been marked as 'challenged.' Mr. Turner has not received any instructions regarding how to prove his eligibility to vote in the January runoff elections," the suit stated.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie A. Gardner, who is the sister of Georgia voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, presided over the decision on Monday, concluding the boards cannot remove "any challenged voters in Ben Hill and Muscogee Counties from the registration lists on the basis of National Change of Address data." 

"The Boards’ decisions to sustain the challenges risk disenfranchising thousands of voters," Gardner wrote, according to Law & Crime. "The challenges were submitted less than a month before the Runoff Elections. There is no evidence Defendants received written confirmation from the voter of a change of address, and the challenges did not include the individualized inquiries necessary to sustain challenges made within 90 days of a federal election.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday's ruling is a "direct attack on rule of law in Georgia and the integrity of elections in this state" and he "will not stand for it."

"Without even hearing from Muscogee County, a President Obama-appointed judge has decided to overturn the express will of Georgia law and the county elections officers around the state who follow it," Raffensperger said in a statement, 11Alive reported. 

The secretary said Gardner has a conflict of interest in the case, claiming that Abrams' Fair Fight Action organization has donated to the committee which serves as a nonprofit arm for Majority Forward. 

"We believe that the judge should have recused in this case. But as of yet, she has not done so,” attorney Jim Clark said.