With a coveted Senate seat still up for grabs, a Georgia judge has sided with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and ruled that counties in the Peach State can offer early voting starting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, despite a law that state officials say prohibits Saturday voting when it falls near a holiday.
Republican Herschel Walker and Warnock were forced into a runoff set for Dec. 6 after neither candidate received a majority of the votes in the midterm election.
Warnock’s campaign, joined by the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, sued the State of Georgia, alleging that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “misreads” and “cherrypicks” Georgia’s election law, according to Fox News.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 18, 2022
Democrats argued that the state’s ban on allowing election sites to open after a holiday only applies to general elections and primaries. Runoffs, they claimed, were a different story.
And after hearing arguments on Friday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Cox Jr. agreed, FOX 5 reported.
“Based on the Court’s ruling, counties may provide advance voting on Saturday, November 26, 2022,” the judge wrote in his opinion. “Further, Defendant is hereby enjoined from interfering in efforts by counties to provide for advance voting on Saturday, November 26, 2022.”
Following Cox Jr.’s decision, Raffensperger issued a statement accusing Warnock and Democrats of “muddying the water.”
“Senator Warnock and his Democratic Party allies are seeking to change Georgia law right before an election based on their political preferences,” he said. “Instead of muddying the water and pressuring counties to ignore Georgia law, Senator Warnock should be allowing county election officials to continue preparations for the upcoming runoff.”
Naturally, the state Democratic Party and Warnock disagree, calling the victory a “win” for Georgia voters.
“Allowing for Saturday early voting is a win for every Georgia voter, but especially for workers and students who will have a greater opportunity to make their voices heard in this election,” they said in a statement. “We look forward to counties announcing that they will provide Georgians the opportunity to cast their ballots on Saturday, November 26th.”
On Twitter, Warnock went a step further and called it “a win for democracy.”
“This is a big WIN for democracy. Saturday voting is critical for Georgia voters, especially students and workers,” he tweeted. “I’m glad the courts have spoken in favor of making it easier for Georgia voters to have a say in their own democracy.”
This is a big WIN for democracy. Saturday voting is critical for Georgia voters, especially students and workers.
I’m glad the courts have spoken in favor of making it easier for Georgia voters to have a say in their own democracy.https://t.co/07KLRvuo7r
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) November 18, 2022
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign lawyer, Marc E. Elias, was thrilled with the ruling, which should give every Georgian pause for thought.
Just hours after the decision, Fulton County scheduled the early voting locations.
However, not everyone is celebrating the decision.
— Telsa Quinn (@QuinnTelsa) November 19, 2022
And the issue may not yet be settled.
In yet another statement, a spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office indicated an appeal will quickly follow the decision.
“We’ve been following the law on this matter and the law is pretty clear,” the spokesperson said, according to FOX 5. “We disagree with the court’s order and look forward to a prompt appeal by Georgia’s Attorney General.”
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