fbpx

Georgia appeals court denies GOP state election chief’s bid to ban early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving

There will be early voting sites open in several Georgia counties on Saturday Nov. 26 for the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker. In two court rulings, the secretary of state’s office was unsuccessful in its attempt to prevent voters from voting on Saturday since it falls within a day of a state holiday. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Georgia’s Court of Appeals has rejected Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s attempt to keep Georgians from voting in the U.S. Senate runoff on the Saturday after Thanksgiving,

On Monday evening the appeals court blocked the state’s emergency motion to nullify a Fulton County judge’s order giving Georgia counties the option to open early voting sites on Saturday, Nov. 26, which falls two days after Thanksgiving and one day after a state holiday previously named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, filed the appeal on behalf of the secretary of state claiming that state law prohibits advanced voting on Saturdays that fall within a day after a state holiday.

The secretary of state’s spokesman said after Monday’s appeals court ruling Saturday voting can go forward without further challenge.

“The court has worked its will,” spokesman Mike Hassinger said in a statement. “We believe this is something the General Assembly should clarify to avoid confusion in the future. I hope that Georgia election workers will be able to enjoy a somewhat restful day despite this decision.”

After Monday’s ruling, voters in a few of the state’s most heavily populated counties will be able to vote in the runoff election between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

Both candidates failed to get the 50% of votes needed for an outright victory in the Nov. 8 midterm election, prompting a runoff that both parties are battling to win even though Democrats already won control of the Senate this month.

Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis noted on Monday that the appeals court ruled in favor of voter accessibility.

“We don’t have a decision on the merits or an explanation, but two things won out tonight at the Court of Appeals: (1) last minute changes in interpretation of state election law are disfavored and (2) there’s no irreparable harm to the state by erring on the side of voters #gapol,” Kreis said in a tweet.

In a press conference after the Nov. 8 midterm election, Raffensperger said he expected some counties to offer advance voting on Saturday. Raffnespeger’s state election director sent guidelines shortly afterwards stating that state law prohibits voting on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

The Georgia Democratic Party and Warnock’s campaign filed the lawsuit on Nov. 14, arguing that the ambiguous state law does not specify runoff elections and that providing more opportunities will benefit Georgians.

In the closely contested runoff, Walker may be at a disadvantage since during the early voting period, counties with strong Democratic leanings are more likely to offer weekend voting than those with Republican majorities. Georgia counties planning to open early voting precincts this Saturday include Chatham, DeKalb and Fulton. State election officials recommend voters check the website of their county election office to see when local early voting is available.

Following the 2020 presidential election, Republican lawmakers overhauled Georgia’s voting laws in response to the unexpected loss of former President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.

Georgia law specifies that in-person voting can begin as soon as possible prior to a primary and general election, but no later than the second Monday before the runoff date. Early voting sites can be open on the third Saturday of the month if a state holiday precedes the prior weekend.

The Dec. 6 runoff, however, does not fit the timeline listed in the code since the third Saturday bleeds into the midterm certification window.

Stanley Dunlap is a reporter for the Georgia Recorder, which first published this report.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Stanley Dunlap
Load More In News

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is trying to cut a last minute deal that could bring tens… [...]

For the third year in a row, Decarcerate Now NC will host a vigil outside the… [...]

Tillis and Burr 'aye' votes help assure measure could not be filibustered WASHINGTON — The U.S.… [...]

Early voting in the U.S. Senate runoff got off to a busy start in Georgia, with… [...]

U.S. Marine vet from North Carolina: Congress should pass the Afghan Adjustment Act ASAP More than… [...]

It’s an age-old, chicken and egg discussion: Is it extant societal forces of exclusion, hatred and… [...]

The post At the corner of Partisan and Politics appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Maybe the change was an inevitable byproduct of our current charged and contentious era. Maybe it… [...]

REPUBLISHING TERMS

You may republish this article online or in print under our Creative Commons license. You may not edit or shorten the text, you must attribute the article to The Pulse and you must include the author’s name in your republication.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

License

Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
Georgia appeals court denies GOP state election chief’s bid to ban early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving