Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, along with party allies, have sued the state to allow for an extra day of early voting before the U.S. Senate runoff election on Dec. 6.
Warnock, joined by the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has filed a complaint for an injunction in the Fulton County Superior Court, seeking to force Georgia to allow early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26. Early voting in the race is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 28 and run until Friday, Nov. 29, the mandatory five days required by state law.
Georgia elections law prohibits early voting on a Saturday if a holiday falls within two days of it. (RELATED: Walker Hauls In $3.3 Million As Candidates Prepare For Runoff)
“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,” stated Quentin Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager, in comments to Fox 5.
The race in Georgia is headed to a runoff after neither Republican candidate Herschel Walker nor Warnock received 50% of the vote on Election Day. The runoff will be held solely between both candidates, with the winner being elected to the Senate for a full six-year term.
In November, Georgians voted in record numbers during early vote, including a record number of folks casting their ballots on Saturdays.
That is good for our democracy. We should keep it up in the runoff. pic.twitter.com/9hQDZ7MuSb
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) November 15, 2022
Georgia election officials have rebuffed Warnock’s attempt to change state law less than two weeks from early voting. “If recent elections prove one thing, it’s that voters expect candidates to focus on winning at the ballot box — not at the courthouse,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during a press conference on Tuesday, according to Fox 5.
The Georgia law was ostensibly passed to ensure early voting sessions would have adequate poll workers to staff them, given the difficulty of gathering workers on a long weekend, according to Gabriel Sterling, the secretary of State’s Chief Operating Officer. The law, part of Senate Bill 199, was passed in 2016 with bipartisan support, including Democratic former State Rep. Stacey Abrams, who recently lost the Georgia gubernatorial election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in her second candidacy.
Though Democrats will retain control of the Senate with 50 votes in the chamber in the next Congress, coupled with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, Republicans still seek to flip Georgia’s Senate seat to ensure an evenly-divided Senate.
Over the 117th Congress, opposition to several initiatives by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia forced Senate Democrats to make significant compromises to legislation, which affected the Biden administration’s ability to pass its agenda.
It is unclear when Tuesday’s lawsuit will be adjudicated, though it has been filed seeking “Emergency Relief.” It is highly likely that the losing party will appeal, setting up a legal battle as both candidates campaign.
Walker and Warnock’s campaigns, the DSCC, NRSC, RNC, and the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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