The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the state Republican Party’s attempt to block early elections in the state’s hotly contested runoff this Saturday.
The brief unanimous ruling from the state High Court upheld a Fulton County judge’s decision last week to block an order from the Georgia Secretary of State that prohibited counties from voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, had argued that changes to the election laws in Georgia meant that there could be no early vote on November 26, the only Saturday on which Georgians would have been able to vote early in the December 6 runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
Early voting must be possible nationwide from Monday to Friday next week.
“The court finds that the absence of the vote on Saturday will cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, their members and voters, and their preferred candidate,” Judge Thomas A. Cox wrote in a verdict last Friday.
The state’s Republican Party appealed the decision, arguing it allowed “illegal preliminary votes.”
Warnock and Walker continue the last push ahead of the runoff in Georgia
The dispute focused on a provision of Senate Bill 202 signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp in March 2021, which stipulates that early personal elections may not be held on a Saturday following a “public or public holiday” the previous Thursday or Friday. Raffensperger claimed that this meant that there could be no early personal vote on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Lawyers for the Democrats and Warnock’s campaign argued that the section of the law cited by Raffensperger applied to primaries and general elections, but not runoff elections. Cox agreed.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Warnock campaign, the Democratic Senate campaign committee, and the state Democratic Party described the state Supreme Court ruling as “a victory for every voter in Georgia.”
Early voting opened Tuesday in at least one of the state’s 159 counties.