ATLANTA — The Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee are continuing their attempt to block Saturday early voting, taking their appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The groups filed a notice of appeal Tuesday morning, one day after the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia upheld a Fulton County Superior Court decision that allows counties to offer early voting on Nov. 26. Responses to the Republicans' petition are due by Wednesday at 9 a.m.
The groups argue that the order permitting rather than mandating counties to open advance voting locations on Saturday can't be reconciled with state law which "specifies Saturday dates that 'shall' have advance voting."
The groups also argue that the ruling favors Democratic counties.
“Our Republican coalition has appealed with the Georgia Supreme Court because Georgians deserve better than Democrats scheming to change election laws in the eleventh hour," said RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. "This flawed ruling benefits a handful of wealthy Democrat counties at the expense of basic election integrity and cannot be allowed to stand. This is exactly why the RNC, NRSC, and GAGOP have lawyers on the ground in Georgia: to fight Democrat election violations as they happen.”
The rulings reversed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's interpretation of the law regarding early voting before the Dec. 6 runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
The state argued that early voting on Nov. 26 wasn't allowed because it fell after Thanksgiving and a state holiday that once celebrated Confederate general Robert E. Lee. That Saturday was the only one where early voting could take place under the state's four-week runoff window.
Warnock's campaign, along with the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, filed a lawsuit challenging the secretary of state's guidance. The groups argued that laws barring Saturday voting on or near a holiday applied only to primaries and elections. Under state law, runoffs are defined as a separate type of election.
The Georgia Republican Party, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee later joined the lawsuit on the side of the state of Georgia.
In a statement Monday night, Georgia Secretary of State spokesperson Mike Hassinger told 11Alive that the state didn't plan to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.
"The court has worked its will," he said. "We believe this is something the General Assembly should consider clarifying to avoid confusion in the future. I hope that Georgia's election workers will be able to enjoy a somewhat restful holiday despite this decision."