Georgia Republicans have run out of options in their bid to block early Saturday voting ahead of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that counties choosing to offer early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26, may do so. The Georgia Republican Party, Republican National Committee, and National Republican Senatorial Committee earlier had gone to both U.S. District Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals seeking to block early Saturday voting.

“Once again, this is a victory for every Georgia voter,” Quentin Folks, Warnock’s campaign manager, said Wednesday. “We look forward to at least 22 counties across the state providing voters the opportunity to cast their ballots on Saturday, November 26th.”

The state Supreme Court decision upheld the two lower-court rulings in a lawsuit brought by the Warnock campaign, the Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The three parties filed suit after Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, announced early voting could not take place on Nov. 26 because of a state law prohibiting early voting within two days of a state holiday. Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, Nov. 24, and Nov. 25 is a state holiday honoring the birthday of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Lawyers for the Democrats argued the law applies to primaries and general elections but not to runoffs.

While weekend early voting is optional, all 159 Georgia counties must offer early voting from Monday, Nov. 28, through Friday, Dec. 2.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.  

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.