The Latest: Kemp wants Georgia absentee ballot order halted

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on a judge’s order governing Georgia election officials’ handling of absentee ballots (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Georgia’s secretary of state is asking a federal judge to suspend her order governing election officials’ handling of absentee ballots and applications that have mismatched signatures while he appeals it.

U.S. District Judge Leigh May on Thursday issued a final order instructing the state to stop rejecting the ballots and applications because of a signature mismatch without first giving voters a chance to fix the problem.

She outlined a procedure to allow voters to resolve alleged signature discrepancies that she said must be used for the Nov. 6 midterm elections for all absentee ballots and applications that have a signature that doesn’t match the one on file.

Lawyers for Secretary of State Brian Kemp wrote that last-minute changes to the election procedures “threaten to disrupt the orderly administration of elections.”

They asked that the judge’s order be put on hold pending appeal.

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3:05 p.m.

A federal judge has tweaked her order governing Georgia’s handling of absentee ballots and applications that have mismatched signatures.

U.S. District Judge Leigh May on Wednesday ordered the state to stop rejecting the ballots and applications because of a signature mismatch without first giving voters a chance to fix the problem.

After hearing from groups that had sued and from elections officials, she made changes Thursday to her order affecting the November midterm elections. The order includes these changes:

— election officials must send rejections by first-class mail and electronic means;

— voters may have an attorney present identification;

— verification must be done before election returns are certified;

— results won’t have to be recertified for appeals not completed by the certification deadline unless the election outcome would change.

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