Court Battles

Georgia Supreme Court rejects GOP bid to block early voting on Saturday

Voting stickers
AP/Kelly P. Kissel
In this May 21, 2018, photo, a roll of stickers awaiting distribution to early voters sits on a table at the check-in station at the Pulaski County Courthouse Annex in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a GOP bid to overturn lower court rulings allowing early voting on Saturday in the state’s Senate runoff.

The court’s nine justices unanimously declined to hear the case appealed by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Georgia Republican Party after an appeals court rejected their arguments earlier this week.

The Republican coalition had argued that a Georgia statute prohibiting early voting on a Saturday following a legal holiday applies to a runoff, which would mean voting cannot take place following Thanksgiving this week.

State law mandates that early voting must conclude on the Friday immediately preceding a runoff, so this weekend is the only potential day for Saturday voting before the Dec. 6 runoff.

Lower courts disagreed with the Republican litigants, paving the way for some counties to announce Saturday voting. The GOP groups said that decision would “sow utter chaos” because not all counties were participating.

Attorneys for Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) campaign, the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called those predictions “baseless” in opposing the appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court.

“Some, but not all, counties offered Saturday voting on the day after Christmas during the 2021 runoffs and no ‘chaos’ ensued,” the Democratic coalition told justices. “If anything, it is the Intervenors’ eleventh-hour request that threatens to create confusion, as many counties — and now the Secretary’s office as well — have spent days promoting Saturday voting to Georgians.” 

The Democratic groups had originally filed the lawsuit against the state after Georgia’s top election official indicated early voting would not be permitted on Nov. 26 based on the statute.

Georgia opposed Democrats’ effort but did not join the Republican groups in their latest appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.

Warnock faces former NFL star Herschel Walker (R) in the runoff after both candidates failed to garner a majority of votes and win outright on Election Day.

Democrats have already maintained their razor-thin majority in the Senate, and the Georgia contest now gives the party a chance of expanding their margin by one seat.

Tags Early voting Georgia runoff Georgia Senate race Herschel Walker Raphael Warnock
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