Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock and the Democratic Party of Georgia have filed a lawsuit against the state to remove a state decree on Saturday early voting ahead of the Dec. 6th runoff election between the Democratic senator and Republican Herschel Walker, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Georgia’s early voting for the 2022 midterm elections shattered records, with 2.5 million ballots cast before November 8th. However, that number will likely be less for the crucial Senate runoff election, mainly because of a collection of Georgia voter laws that are confusing.
Previously, runoff elections could be scheduled nine weeks after the original election. (This played a role in Sens. Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning their seats in 2020 after the presidential election.) However, the Republican-controlled legislative body passed voting changes last year, ensuring that runoff elections would now happen four weeks after the general one.
One problem in particular is a 2016 law that limits early Saturday voting before an election if a state holiday is held on Thursday and Friday. The Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said voting would not be allowed on Saturday, Nov. 26, because it falls after both Thanksgiving and a designated state holiday that once celebrated Confederate general Robert E. Lee. (That latter holiday has thankfully been changed.)
Instead, early voting ahead of the runoff would begin Monday, Nov. 28. Warnock’s campaign is making the argument that the 2016 law should only apply to primary and general elections. The lawsuit seeks to allow counties to offer early voting on Nov. 26 if they so choose, and prevent the state from stopping them.
From the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
“Illegal attempts to block Saturday voting are another desperate attempt by career politicians to squeeze the people out of their own democracy and to silence the voices of Georgians,” said Quentin Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager. “We’re aggressively fighting to protect Georgia voters’ ability to vote on Saturday.”
It would make sense to allow Georgians to vote during a holiday weekend when some may actually have time to go to the polls. This is something that both sides should agree on, given how close the general election between Warnock and Walker was.