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Warnock, Democrats sue to allow Saturday early voting in runoff election

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Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-GA, faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia on Dec. 6. Pool file photo by Tom Williams/UPI
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-GA, faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia on Dec. 6. Pool file photo by Tom Williams/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Democrats filed a lawsuit in Fulton County, Ga., in an attempt to open up Saturday early voting in the upcoming runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

The runoff election will take place on Dec. 6, with early voting opening on Nov. 28. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Warnock for Georgia campaign, and the Democratic Party of Georgia filed a joint lawsuit to make early voting accessible on Saturdays.

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The lawsuit accuses Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of "cherry picking" provisions to restrict Saturday voting. One such provision prohibits Saturday early voting if it falls within two days of a holiday. In this case, the holiday is Thanksgiving Day. The lawsuit argues this provision only applies to general and primary elections.

"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's campaign manager. "We're aggressively fighting to protect Georgia voters' ability to vote on Saturday."

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Elias Law Group sent a letter to several Georgia counties urging them of the importance of access to early voting on Saturday. The letter alludes to a press conference Raffensperger spoke at on Nov. 9, during which he stated some counties will likely have early voting starting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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"The counties' decision to conduct weekend advance voting should be governed by the provisions of Georgia law that apply explicitly to a runoff election. Namely, the county should hold advance voting on 'as soon as possible.'" Marc Elias wrote.

The letter also asks counties to begin early voting before Thanksgiving if possible.

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Raffensperger responded to the lawsuit, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

"If recent elections prove one thing, it's that voters expect candidates to focus on winning at the ballot box -- not at the courthouse," said Raffensperger. "Senator Warnock and his Democratic Party allies are seeking to change Georgia law right before an election based on their political preferences. Instead of muddying the water and pressuring counties to ignore Georgia law, Senator Warnock should be allowing county election officials to continue preparations for the upcoming runoff."

After all votes were counted, Warnock led Walker 49.43% to 48.51%. About 3.9 million people voted in this race and 81,267 voted for Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver.

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Absentee ballots for the runoff election must be requested on or before Nov. 28.

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