Republicans try to prevent Saturday’s vote in Georgia’s runoff

Republican groups appealed to Georgia’s highest court on Tuesday to try to ban early voting this Saturday in the Second round of US Senate elections between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

The Republican Party of Georgia, the Republican National Senate Committee, and the Republican National Committee appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. They are asking the High Court to issue an emergency stay of a lower court decision it says Georgian law allows voting this Saturday.

The election day runoff is scheduled for December 6

The urgent legal battle began after Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger issued directives to county election officials that early voting could not take place Nov. 26 because state law says it is illegal on Saturday if there is a public holiday on Thursday. or the Friday preceding it. Thursday is Thanksgiving and Friday is a holiday.

Warnock’s campaign with the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continued last week challenge this direction. They argued that the ban on early voting on Saturdays after a public holiday only applies to a primary or general election, but not a runoff.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox sided with the Warnock campaign and Democratic groups. He issued an order on Friday stating that Georgia law “does not specifically prohibit counties from proceeding to advance voting on Saturday, November 26, 2022 for a second round.”

The state appealed the ruling Monday to the Georgia Court of Appeals, the state’s intermediate appeals court. They argued that the ruling was flawed on procedural grounds and that Cox was wrong to view the run-off as a separate type of election rather than a continuation of the general election. They asked the court of appeal to immediately stay the decision of the court of first instance.

The Court of Appeals issued a one-sentence decision late Monday refusing to stay the lower court’s order.

State officials accepted the decision and said they would not pursue any further appeals.

“The Court has worked according to its will. We believe this is something the General Assembly should consider clarifying to avoid confusion in the future. I hope election workers can enjoy a somewhat restful holiday despite this decision,” the spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office said. , Mike Hassinger, said in an emailed statement.

But the Republican groups, which had been allowed to join the lawsuit as intervenors, appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday.

They argue that the interpretation of Georgia law put forward by the plaintiffs and accepted by Cox was incorrect. The run-off election scheduled for December 6 is clearly a continuation of the November 8 general election and is subject to the ban on voting on Saturdays immediately after a public holiday, they claim.

The counties had been relying on advice provided by Raffensperger as they prepared for the second round of elections, assuming voting would not be allowed on Nov. 26, Republican groups say. Only 10 counties — “all Democratic-leaning” — plan to hold early voting on Saturday, they note.

This “sows confusion and inequity in the voting process, preventing the clarity and uniformity Georgian citizens deserve,” they say.

The Supreme Court gave the Warnock campaign and Democratic groups until 9 a.m. Wednesday to file a response.

Warnock and Walker, the former University of Georgia and NFL football star, were forced into a runoff Dec. 6 because neither won a majority in the midterm elections that this month.

Georgia’s 2021 election law cut the period between general elections and the runoff to four weeks, and Thanksgiving falls in the middle. Many Georgians will only be offered five weekdays of in-person early voting starting Nov. 28.

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