UPDATE: On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the Republican intervenors filed an emergency petition in the Georgia Supreme Court in an effort to prevent counties from being able to have early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26. This emergency petition comes after the state of Georgia publicly stated it will not further appeal the lower court’s order allowing voting on this day.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Nov. 21, the Georgia Court of Appeals denied the state of Georgia and Republicans’ request to pause a lower court’s decision that allows for early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26). This decision stems from an ongoing lawsuit in which the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Warnock for Georgia (Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) campaign for U.S. Senate) challenged the state’s guidance for early voting before the Senate runoff election, which will be held on Dec. 6. After an expedited briefing schedule and a hearing before a Georgia trial court on Friday, Nov. 18, a judge ruled that counties may hold early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26. Both the state and the Republican committees that intervened in the lawsuit filed motions to stay (meaning pause) the decision pending appeal, but on Nov. 21, a Georgia appellate court denied this request.
In addition to the appellate court denying Georgia’s and the Republicans’ request, it has become clear that Georgia will not pursue a further appeal of the lower court’s decision. On Monday, Nov. 21, Gabriel Sterling, the Georgia secretary of state’s chief operating officer, tweeted that the “court has worked its will. Counties who choose to May offer Saturday voting on November 26. This is not a mandate for Saturday voting. The mandatory Early Voting days are Mon, Nov 28-Fri, Dec 2. Working with the counties now to see who will be doing it.” Additionally, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that “[Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger will not pursue another appeal.”
This decision is a major victory for voters who will be able to vote early on Nov. 26 in counties that have added it as a day for early voting. Currently, 12 counties have already committed to holding early voting on Nov. 26 including: Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, Crawford, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Muscogee, Rockdale, Screven, Terrell and Walton.