Warnock sues GA over early voting laws as Senate runoff approaches

by Jacob Fuller

Megan Udinski, FISM News


Raphael Warnock’s campaign team sued the state of Georgia on Tuesday after state law prohibited early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the runoff election.

After the November 8 general elections, Democratic candidate Warnock led Georgia in the senate race against Republican candidate Herschel Walker by a slim margin. Since neither candidate secured at least 50% of the vote, a runoff election will take place on December 6.

Per Georgia law, the state must allow early voting, also sometimes called advanced voting. This differs from mail-in ballots because it allows voters to vote in person ahead of the official election date. The state also has a law that prohibits voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving due to it being a state holiday.

Many are angered over this limitation in voting. Gabriel Sterling, interim deputy secretary of state, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “It’s not our choice. It’s literally in black-letter law that the Saturday following a state holiday cannot be used for early voting. We all thought there was going to be Saturday voting until we looked at the law really closely.”

The day after Thanksgiving this year, formerly celebrated as Robert E. Lee’s birthday, is now simply recognized as a “state holiday.” Gerald Griggs, the president of the Georgia NAACP, tweeted his disapproval of a Confederate holiday blocking votes.

Additionally, lawyers for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ACLU of Georgia penned a letter urging each of the counties to individually choose to add three extra early voting dates, Tuesday, November 22, Wednesday, November 23 and Sunday, November 27.

To support their request, they explained, “If you only offer advance voting on the five days required by statute (which, as noted above, is limited to weekdays), there is a significant risk that many voters will be unable to participate due to obligations during the workday. The lack of weekend or evening voting options is especially concerning for voters of color, who may be less able to take time off from work to vote.”

Both Gwinnett County and Fulton County will have additional voting beginning Sunday, November 28 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.