On Friday (November 18), a Fulton County judge ruled Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger couldn’t prohibit counties in the state from kicking off early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The ruling is a victory for Senator Raphael Warnock and Georgia’s Democratic Party after they filed a lawsuit challenging the Secretary of State’s determination that the state’s voting law prohibited early voting from commencing on November 26.
The early voting dispute arose from the December 6 runoff between Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
Raffensperger, a Republican, indicated that changes the state made to voting law in 2021 meant the Saturday after Thanksgiving was a no-go-zone for early voting.
But given November 26 was the only Saturday for early voting before the scheduled runoff, Democrats in the state filed suit.
In a ruling late on Friday afternoon, Judge Thomas A. Cox sided with Democrats, explaining that the lack of an early voting Saturday “will irreparably harm the Plaintiffs, their members, and constituents, and their preferred runoff candidate.”
Following Friday’s ruling, a spokesperson for Raffensperger’s office, Mike Hassinger, expressed the Secretary of State’s office disagreed with the ruling and was looking forward to a “prompt appeal.”
Kara Richardson, Georgia’s Attorney General spokeswoman, confirmed the AG would be appealing Cox’s ruling.
The law in dispute is a provision of Senate Bill 202, which Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law in 2021.
According to the provision, early voting must end the Friday before the runoff. This would make December 2 the final day for early voting in the runoffs.
The provision also prohibits Saturday early voting from starting if there is a “public or legal holiday” on the Thursday or Friday preceding the Saturday.