Sen. Raphael Warnock Sues Georgia For Eliminating Early Voting On Saturday Before Runoff Election

Sen. Rapheal Warnock is fighting back against a Georgia law that eliminates early voting on the Saturday before the runoff election. On Nov. 15, Warnock for Georgia campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) announced a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County. 

The elimination of Saturday voting stems from a Georgia law that once paid homage to Confederate general Robert E. Lee. 

“Illegal attempts to block Saturday voting are another desperate attempt by career politicians to squeeze the people out of their own democracy and to silence the voices of Georgians,” said Quentin Fulks, Warnock for Georgia Campaign Manager. 

During a recent campaign event at Morehouse College with rapper Lil Baby, Warnock took a moment to shed light on the recent elimination of Saturday early voting which means that voters will have less days to vote. 

“Let me tell you how important your voice is, already they’re playing games with us,” Warnock said. “We can’t do early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving because there’s a state law that says you can’t do the voting after this holiday. What holidays are they talking about Thanksgiving? It’s a Georgia holiday that used to pay tribute to Robert E. Lee. So you can’t vote on Saturday because of Robert Lee’s birthday. If you think your vote doesn’t count, let me tell you it counts enough for folks to be playing games to keep you from using it.”

Key points from the motion:

  • The Secretary’s interpretation misreads and cherry-picks provisions that have no application to runoffs. Section § 21-2-385(d)(1)’s restrictions on Saturday voting… do not apply to runoffs. 
  • The Legislature expressly distinguished between three different categories of elections: (1) a primary election (referred to as a “primary”); (2) a general election (referred to as an “election,” see id. § 21-2-2(5) (defining “election” as a “general or special election and not . . . a primary or special primary”)); and (3) a runoff. 
  • As the emphasized portions of the language provided above make clear, § 21-2-385(d)(1)’s exception for advance voting on Saturdays falling on or after a holiday applies only to primary and general elections, not runoffs. If the legislature desired otherwise, it “knew how” to say so and its decision not to refer to runoffs—which it references elsewhere throughout the provision—should be respected as a “matter of considered choice.”

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