Home USA News The Georgia Supreme Court allowed Saturday’s Senate runoff vote

The Georgia Supreme Court allowed Saturday’s Senate runoff vote

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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia counties will be allowed to hold early voting this Saturday in the U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court issued a unanimous, one-sentence ruling in which it declined to review or stay the ruling of an intermediate state appeals court. Republicans opposed Saturday’s vote.

Warnock and Walker, former University of Georgia and NFL football stars, were forced into a Dec. 6 runoff because neither won a majority in this month’s midterm elections. Early voting ends on December 2nd, the Friday before Election Day, meaning November 26th will be the only possible Saturday on which early voting can be held.

At issue is a section of Georgia law that says early in-person voting is not allowed on a Saturday if the Thursday or Friday before it is a holiday. State and Republican groups argued that the vote should not be allowed this Saturday, Nov. 26, because Thursday is Thanksgiving and Friday is a public holiday. Warnock’s campaign and Democratic groups have argued that the ban only applies to primaries and general elections, not runoffs.

Georgia’s 2021 election law shortened the period between the general election and the runoff to four weeks, with Thanksgiving falling in the middle. Starting November 28, many Georgians will be offered only five working days of early in-person voting.

Eighteen of the state’s 159 counties — including six of the 10 most populous — plan to vote Saturday, Acting Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling said on Twitter late Tuesday. Some counties plan to offer early voting on Sunday before the required Monday start.

After initially saying in a television interview that voting would be allowed on Nov. 26, GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger issued instructions to county election officials saying it was prohibited. Warnock’s campaign, as well as the Georgia Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the guidance.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox issued an order Friday saying state law does not prohibit early voting this coming Saturday. The state appealed the decision Monday and asked the Georgia Court of Appeals to stay the lower court’s ruling. The Court of Appeal issued a one-sentence ruling late Monday, refusing to stay the lower court’s ruling.

State officials agreed with the ruling and said they would not file further appeals. But the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee, which were allowed to join the case as interveners, appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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