Georgia OKs early voting in Warnock, Walker Senate runoff

Georgia residents will be able to do some voting along with their early Christmas shopping this weekend.

The Peach State’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that counties can offer early voting on Saturday ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff election for US Senate between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

The nine justices unanimously voted to turn aside an attempt by the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee to block a Tuesday lower court decision allowing the expanded early voting.

The GOP groups turned to the Georgia Supreme Court a day after the state Court of Appeals upheld a Fulton County Superior Court decision that sided with the Democratic Party of Georgia.

The Republicans pointed to a provision in state law that prohibits in-person early voting on a Saturday if it follows a holiday on the Thursday or Friday.

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally on Nov. 16, 2022, in McDonough, Georgia.
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Incumbent Sen. Raphel Warnock
Incumbent Sen. Raphel Warnock (D-Ga.) narrowly led Walker in the first round of voting this month.
REUTERS

The Democrats argued that the law in question applied to primary and general elections — but not runoffs.

According to a Democratic court filing, 19 Georgia counties — including deep-blue Fulton County, where Atlanta is located — with a total population of around 4 million people plan to offer in-person voting on Nov. 26. Under the state’s newly enacted election law, early voting in the runoff must be available statewide between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2.

The contest between Warnock and Walker will determine whether Democrats will have an outright majority in the Senate or the upper chamber of Congress will remain split 50-50.

A line of early voters wait their turn in Columbus, Georgia, on Oct. 17, 2022.
A line of early voters wait their turn in Columbus, Georgia, on Oct. 17, 2022.
REUTERS
Georgia residents are pictured using machines to vote in the first round of the Senate election.
Georgia residents are pictured using machines to vote in the first round of the Senate election.
REUTERS
Advance voting sign
Under Georgia’s newly enacted election law, early voting in the runoff must be available statewide between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2.
AP

Warnock secured about 49.4% of the vote in the general election on Nov. 8, while Walker received 48.5%. Libertarian Chase Oliver, who will not be on the ballot Dec. 6, played spoiler, receiving about 2.1% of the vote.

Georgia law requires a runoff in races where no candidate reached at least 50% of the vote.