GOP groups have requested that Georgia’s Supreme Court prohibit early voting this Saturday in the state’s runoff Senate election, arguing that state law dictates that early voting can’t take place on that day because it follows the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Republican National Committee filed an appeal with the state’s Supreme Court after an appeals court rejected a similar request from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, according to the Associated Press. The Georgia Court of Appeals dismissed Raffensperger’s request on Monday.
Raffensperger argued, and the GOP groups maintain, that state law prohibits early voting on Saturday if a holiday falls on either of the two days before. Thursday, Thanksgiving, and Friday are both recognized holidays. This coming Saturday will be the only opportunity to cast any early vote on a Saturday before the runoff election on December 6.
“The court of appeals’ denial of the Intervenor’s motion for emergency stay allows the superior court’s interpretation of [state law] to gut the statute, sow utter chaos, and unevenly impact Georgia voters’ access to advance voting,” the Tuesday GOP filing says.
The GOP intervention in the case comes after Raffensperger decided against pursuing the issue. Raffensperger’s office said Monday that he would not file any additional appeals.
“The court has worked its will. We believe this is something the General Assembly should consider clarifying to avoid confusion in the future. I hope that election workers are able to enjoy a somewhat restful holiday despite this decision,” Raffensperger spokesman Mike Hassinger said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At least 10 counties are expected to offer early voting on Saturday. The legal battle began after Raffensperger prohibited early voting on Saturday, citing state law. His decision sparked a lawsuit from the campaign of incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and the Georgia Democratic Party.
Warnock will face GOP challenger Herschel Walker in the runoff election. The November 8 general election ended with neither candidate reaching the required 50% threshold to avoid a runoff. Warnock ended slightly ahead with 49.4% of the vote to Walker’s 48.5%. Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver, who will not appear on the ballot in the runoff, finished with 2.1%.
The runoff election will decide whether the Republican Party will maintain its 50-50 split in the Senate or lose a seat and give the Democrats a 51-49 advantage. The additional Democratic seat would allow Democrats to pass legislation on party-line votes without the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. The legislation would have to be approved by a GOP-controlled House, however.