Democrats, Warnock campaign suing state over no Saturday runoff voting
The lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election campaign filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Fulton County over the lack of Saturday voting in the Dec. 6 runoff.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Warnock for Georgia campaign, and the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) filed the lawsuit - which can be read here - Tuesday.
Last week, while discussing logistics for the runoff between Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger suggested counties, “may likely have Saturday voting following Thanksgiving.” However, his office released updated guidance over the weekend informing county election officials that state law makes it impossible.
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Early voting for the runoff is required from Nov. 28 until Dec 2. But state law doesn’t allow a Saturday early voting option if it follows a Thursday or Friday state holiday. The weekend before the election is also off-limits.
“Advance Voting on Saturday, November 26th is prohibited by OCGA 21-2-385(d)(1), which states that if the second Saturday before the runoff follows a Thursday or Friday that is a state holiday, voting on that Saturday is not allowed,” according to the bulletin sent.
According to Tuesday’s lawsuit, Raffensperger’s “interpretation misreads and cherry-picks provisions that have no application to runoffs.”
“As the emphasized portions of the language provided above make clear, [the] exception for advance voting on Saturdays falling on or after a holiday applies only to primary and general elections, not runoffs,” the lawsuit said.
“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 Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks.
“If recent elections prove one thing, it’s that voters expect candidates to focus on winning at the ballot box, not at the courthouse,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Sen. Warnock and his Democratic Party allies are seeking to change Georgia law right before an election based on their political preferences. Instead of muddying the water and pressuring counties to ignore Georgia law, Sen. Warnock should be allowing county election officials to continue preparations for the upcoming runoff.”
“The Secretary of State’s guidance regarding Saturday runoff voting is deeply concerning for anyone who believes in the right to vote, and it clearly contradicts Georgia law,” said Rebecca DeHart, DPG executive director. “We will use every legal tool at our disposal to ensure that Georgia counties can offer voters ample opportunity to cast their ballot as laid out in state law.”
This week, Elias Law Group sent a letter to multiple counties in Georgia outlining why Saturday voting in the U.S. Senate runoff election is legal in accordance with Georgia law and encouraging counties to ensure voters have every opportunity to vote in the runoff.
Early voting in the runoff can’t begin until the results from the midterm elections are certified, a process that’s expected to be completed by Nov. 21.
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