Three Republican party committees on Tuesday asked the Georgia Supreme Court to halt early voting in Saturday’s US Senate runoff.
The petition — filed by the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party of Georgia and the campaign arm of the Republican Senate — asks the state Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay to prevent counties from offering voters the opportunity to vote on Saturday to cast ballots after Thanksgiving.
In their petition, the Republican committees argue that only 10 counties – “all pro-democracy oriented” – plan to hold early voting on the day, thereby “wiping out the legally required uniformity among Georgia’s counties.”
Allowing a lower court ruling allowing Saturday’s vote creates “an unequal system in which some counties will vote on Nov. 26 and others will not,” attorneys for the GOP committees wrote.
Tuesday’s filing is the latest legal twist in the high-profile Dec. 6 runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
The new court request comes a day after an appeals judge – in a victory for Warnock and Democrats – rejected the state’s appeal of a lower court ruling that allowed voting on Saturday after a bank holiday.
In their Tuesday petition to the state Supreme Court, the Republican committees said two counties are having trouble staffing polling stations on Saturday, and many others are busy with other tasks, such as testing and setting up machines for use in the runoff .
The time pressures poll workers now face can be traced back to the controversial 2021 election law, passed by Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature, which reduced the deadline for a runoff election from nine to four weeks.
Opponents of early voting this coming Saturday argue it violates a state law that prohibits voting on Saturday if the preceding Thursday or Friday is a state holiday.
The lawsuit, which originally urged a vote on Saturday, was filed by Warnock’s campaign team along with the campaign group of the Georgia Democratic Party and the Democratic Senate. They argued that state law does not apply to runoffs.
Earlier Tuesday, voting rights advocates hailed lower court rulings that made Saturday’s voting possible and publicly called for all of the state’s 159 counties to offer voting that day and extend their hours on each early voting day. They said restricting the area code could disenfranchise working-class Georgians.
“With this new appeal … voters’ right to the ballot box is once again in jeopardy,” said Stephanie Ali, political director of the New Georgia Project, of the GOP’s emergency petition.