Georgia residents will be able to do some voting along with their early Christmas shopping this weekend.
The Peach State’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that counties can offer early voting on Saturday ahead of the Dec. 6 run-off election for US Senate between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
The nine justices unanimously voted to turn aside an attempt by the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee to block a Tuesday lower court decision allowing the expanded early voting.
The GOP groups turned to the Georgia Supreme Court a day after the state’s Court of Appeals upheld a Fulton County Superior Court decision that sided with the Democratic Party of Georgia.
The Republicans pointed to a provision in state law that prohibits in-person early voting on a Saturday if it follows a holiday on the Thursday or Friday.
The Democrats successfully argued that the law in question applied to primary and general elections — but not run-offs.
According to a Democratic court filing, 19 Georgia counties — including deep-blue Fulton County, where Atlanta is located — with a total population of around 4 million people plan to offer in-person voting on Nov. 26. Under the state’s newly enacted election law, early voting in the runoff must be available statewide between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2.
The contest between Warnock and Walker will determine whether Democrats will have an outright majority in the Senate or whether the upper chamber of Congress will remain split 50-50.
Warnock secured about 49.4% of the vote in the general election on Nov. 8, while Walker received 48.5%. Libertarian Chase Oliver, who will not be on the ballot Dec. 6, played spoiler, receiving about 2.1% of the vote.
Georgia law requires a run-off in races where neither candidate reached at least 50% of the vote.