A coalition of Democratic groups has filed a lawsuit over what it describes as a Republican-led delay during the early voting period for the Georgia Senate runoff race between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker.
The lawsuit filed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Warnock for Georgia campaign and the Democratic Party of Georgia claims Republicans are trying to “rig the system” and disenfranchise Georgians’ access to voting early on a weekend.
At issue is a state holiday originally meant to observe the birthday of a Confederate general. This year, because it falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, an obscure state law prevents people from voting early on that day, Nov. 26.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Sunday there is a possibility that “some counties” would still be able to vote on the Nov. 26, but not all.
The lawsuit claims in part that Raffensperger’s interpretation of the law “misreads and cherry-picks provisions that have no application to runoffs,” according to a press release from the DSCC.
“Republicans are once again attempting to rig the system to disenfranchise voters’ right to participate in our democracy,” DSCC Executive Director Christie Roberts said in a statement. “Democrats are committed to fighting back against the Republican campaign of voter suppression and protecting the right of Georgians to early vote on Saturday.”
The General Assembly passed the law restricting Saturday voting after holidays in 2016, but it wasn’t an issue in previous runoffs because at the time, they took place nine weeks after Election Day, long after Thanksgiving and the State Holiday.
The president of Georgia’s NAACP said the holiday is obsolete and needs to go.
“A Confederate holiday should not prevent the protection of democracy, which is called voting,” Gerald A. Griggs tweeted on Sunday. “That holiday needs to be eliminated.”