Georgia Supreme Court upholds Saturday early voting in Senate runoff

At least 18 counties are allowing Saturday early voting in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff this weekend
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:12 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 12:37 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia Supreme Court has denied a Republican attempt to prevent Saturday early voting in the state’s nationally watched U.S. Senate runoff.

The court issued its ruling late Wednesday morning, and ends a weeklong battle between Republicans and Democrats over whether Saturday early voting in the runoff between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

Warnock’s campaign and other top Democrats hailed the ruling as “a victory for every Georgia voter.

On Tuesday night, Gabe Sterling, the chief operating officer for Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office, tweeted 18 counties are allowing Saturday voting this weekend: Baker, Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Macon, Mitchell, Muscogee, Newton, Randolph, Rockdale, Terrell, Walton, and Ware counties.

Runoff early-voting dates and times for metro Atlanta

On Wednesday morning, the Democratic Party of Georgia responded to latest Republican attempts to block Saturday early voting throughout the state.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court confirmed that Georgia Republican Party, Inc., et al. v. Democratic Party of Georgia, Inc., et al. has been filed in the court’s docket. The court issued a ruling that gives Democrats until Wednesday at 9 a.m. to file a response, which the party did before the deadline.

On Monday, Georgia’s Court of Appeals denied a motion to delay early in-person voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving throughout the state.

The Attorney General’s office filed the motion Monday morning but it was denied later in the day.

In Wednesday morning’s filing, Democrats said the counties offering Saturday voting “have announced and promoted that voting will be available this Saturday, and voters in those counties - in which over four million Georgians reside - have made plans to vote based on those communications.

“Contrary to Intervenors’ baseless claims, several of these counties voted for the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the November 8 general election, sometimes by wide margins,” Democrats said in the latest filing. “The counties’ plans are squarely in compliance with Georgia law, which requires that counties begin advance voting for this rapidly approaching runoff election ‘as soon as possible’ to maximize the number of days on which Georgians can vote in the runoff.

“Our Republican coalition has appealed with the Georgia Supreme Court because Georgians deserve better than Democrats scheming to change election laws in the 11th hour,” said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “This flawed ruling benefits a handful of wealthy Democrat counties at the expense of basic election integrity and cannot be allowed to stand.”

Early voting for the runoff is required from Nov. 28 until Dec 2. But state law doesn’t allow a Saturday early voting option if it follows a Thursday or Friday state holiday. The weekend before the election is also off-limits.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had issued guidance saying state law doesn’t allow voting this Saturday because it’s the day after a state holiday.

Warnock’s campaign, the Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sued the state, arguing early voting should be allowed that day.