Georgia is appealing a judge’s ruling that allows counties to offer early voting this coming Saturday in the U.S. Senate runoff election between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
Warnock’s campaign, along with the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, sued the state last week, arguing that early voting should be allowed that day. They were challenging guidance from Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that said state law doesn’t allow early voting on a Saturday if there is a holiday on the Thursday or Friday preceding it.
Thursday is Thanksgiving, and Friday is a state holiday. The Saturday following those two holidays, Nov. 26, is the only possibility for Saturday voting before next month’s Senate runoff election between Warnock and Walker.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox on Friday issued an order siding with the Warnock campaign and the Democratic groups. He found that the law cited by the state regarding Saturday voting after a holiday does not apply to a runoff election.
Lawyers for the state on Monday filed an appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals. They asked the court to immediately stay the lower court ruling.
They argue in a court filing that the ruling was erroneous for procedural reasons but also that Cox was wrong to consider the runoff a separate type of election rather than a continuation of the General Election.
Warnock and Walker, a former football player, were forced into a Dec. 6 runoff because neither won a majority in the midterm election this month.
Georgia’s 2021 election law compressed the time period between the general election and the runoff to four weeks, and Thanksgiving falls in the middle. Many Georgians will be offered only five weekdays of early in-person voting beginning Nov. 28.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.