(The Center Square) — A Georgia appeals judge has declined to overturn an early voting ruling, and Republican leadership groups have taken their appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Voters will return to the polls for a U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Election Day is Dec. 6, and the appellate ruling allows early voting to commence Saturday.
On Tuesday, however, the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee asked for an emergency stay of the lower court ruling.
Last week, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Cox Jr. ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Democrats and Warnock’s campaign.
In a statement, Democratic Party of Georgia Executive Director Rebecca DeHart, Warnock Campaign Manager Quentin Fulks and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Christie Roberts called the ruling a win for Georgia voters.
“This ruling is a victory for every Georgia voter, and we look forward to counties across the state providing voters the opportunity to cast their ballots on Saturday, November 26th,” they said.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, had no plans to take the case to the Georgia Supreme Court.
“The court has worked its will,” Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for Raffensperger, said in a statement. “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 told county elections boards state law did not allow voting on a Saturday if there is a holiday on the Thursday or Friday before it. Georgia recognizes holidays for Thanksgiving, and on Friday as well. Warnock's campaign, in its litigation, said that law only applies to primaries and general elections and not to runoffs.
Pending the Supreme Court ruling, several Georgia counties – including Chatham, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Muscogee and Rockdale counties – plan to hold voting either Saturday, Sunday or both days.