A judge rules that Saturday’s vote can be held on November 26 in the Georgia Senate runoff

A judge rules that Saturday’s vote can be held on November 26 in the Georgia Senate runoff

A judge rules that Saturday’s vote can be held on November 26 in the Georgia Senate runoff


ATLANTA — A Georgia judge ruled that early voting can take place Saturday in the highly watched Senate runoff between incumbent Democrat Raphael G. Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

U verdict on Friday afternoonJudge Thomas A. Cox Jr. found that the Georgia election code provision cited by the secretary of state’s office that prohibits Saturday voting “does not expressly prohibit counties from conducting advanced voting on Saturday, November 26, 2022, for the runoff election. ”

The court further noted that in Georgia “there is no settled law on this specific issue,” but that the intent of the state legislature was “apparent” to omit any specific reference to a runoff in the law.

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The ruling is a victory for Democrats and voting rights advocates, who argued that the laws in question were vague and did not apply to runoffs.

Officials in the secretary of state’s office initially ruled that Saturday’s vote could be held in this year’s runoffs before backing off after discovering the provision optional code which forbade voting on days after holidays. The Saturday in question in this case would be two days after Thanksgiving and one day after the national holiday that until 2015 honored Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Democrats filed suit shortly after the state issued guidance to counties advising them not to vote on Saturday.

“I am delighted with the judge’s decision. Obviously, I think it was the right call,” Warnock said at a rally on the Georgia Tech campus Friday night. “We should want every eligible voter to have the opportunity to vote, and not disproportionately affect working class people to have a negative way of voting on the Sabbath.”

“I want to encourage everyone to vote early and make sure your voice is heard,” he added.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said the decision should not be the end of the road on the issue.

“We disagree with the court’s order and look forward to a speedy appeal,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

The decision on whether to appeal the case will be made by Republican Chris Carr, the attorney general. An appeals court could issue a stay order to prevent counties from allowing the Nov. 26 vote.

Walker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The decision does not necessarily mean that the vote will take place on Saturday; counties across Georgia must decide whether to hold early voting on November 26, which requires more time and resources from voters and election staff. Multiple court cases are possible if the case is appealed.

“The judge made it very clear that the text, structure and history of the election law is inconsistent with the state’s tortured, literal interpretation of the law to block Saturday voting,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, a professor of constitutional law and legal history at Georgia State University. “It doesn’t make sense to apply the same standards to a short runoff election as we would to a general election with multiple weeks of early voting.”

Chatham, Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton counties have already enacted trigger policies that would direct election workers to conduct Saturday voting if a court rules it legal.

Sabrina Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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