The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an offer by the GOP to overturn lower court decisions that allowed an early vote in this Saturday’s state Senate runoff.
The court’s nine judges unanimously declined to hear the case, which was appealed by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Georgia Republican Party, after an appellate court dismissed their arguments earlier this week.
The Republican coalition had argued that a Georgia law banning early voting on a Saturday after a public holiday applies to a runoff, meaning no voting can take place after Thanksgiving that week.
State law requires early voting to be completed on the Friday immediately before a runoff, making this weekend the only possible day for Saturday voting before the Dec. 6 runoff.
Lower courts disagreed with the Republican litigants, paving the way for some counties to announce Saturday’s vote. The GOP groups said the decision would “sow complete chaos” as not all districts participated.
Attorneys for Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) campaign, the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called those predictions “baseless,” defying appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.
“Some, but not all, counties offered Saturday voting the day after Christmas during the 2021 runoff, and no ‘chaos’ ensued,” the Democratic coalition told judges. “If anything, it is the Intervenors’ request at the eleventh hour that threatens to create confusion as many districts – and now the Office of the Secretary of State – have spent days promoting Saturday’s vote among Georgians.”
The pro-democracy groups originally filed the lawsuit against the state after Georgia’s top election official said early voting on November 26 was not allowed under the law.
Georgia resisted Democrat efforts but did not join Republican groups in its recent appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Warnock meets former NFL star Herschel Walker (R) in the runoff after both candidates failed to get a majority of the vote on Election Day and won outright.
The Democrats have already maintained their razor-thin majority in the Senate, and Georgia competition is now giving the party a chance to add a seat to its lead.