Georgia Supreme Court rejects Republican bid to halt early Senate vote Saturday


Georgia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the state’s Republican Party’s request to block the early vote in Saturday’s hotly contested second round of the state Senate.

The state Supreme Court’s brief unanimous ruling affirmed last week’s decision by a Fulton County judge that blocked a directive from Georgia’s secretary of state barring counties from voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, had argued that changes to Georgia voting laws meant that an early vote could not take place on November 26, the only Saturday on which Georgians could vote early on December 6. runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

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Early voting is required to be available statewide Monday through Friday of next week.

“The court finds that the failure to vote on Saturday will cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, their members and voters, and their preferred runoff candidate,” Judge Thomas A. Cox wrote in a ruling Friday.

The state’s Republican Party appealed the decision, arguing that it allowed “illegal advance voting.”

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The dispute centered on a provision of Senate Bill 202 signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in March 2021, which stipulates that early in-person ballots may not be held on a Saturday following a “public or statutory holiday” on the preceding Thursday. or Friday. Raffensperger argued that this meant no early in-person voting could take place on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Attorneys for the Democrats and Warnock’s campaign argued that the portion of the law cited by Raffensperger applied to primaries and general elections, but not runoff elections. Cox agreed.

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In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Warnock campaign, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and the state Democratic Party called the state Supreme Court ruling “a victory for every voter in Georgia.”

Early voting opened Tuesday in at least one of the state’s 159 counties.

In a lawsuit, Democrats said at least 19 counties with a total population of more than 4 million planned to vote early on Saturday.

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