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Early Voting for Senate Runoff Starts Saturday in Athens

Credit: Blake Aued

Early voting for the runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will start Saturday, Nov. 26 after Democrats won a court ruling allowing counties to offer early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The Georgia secretary of state’s office initially claimed that Georgia law prohibited Saturday voting before the Senate runoff because the Saturday came two days after Thanksgiving and one day after a state holiday that formerly commemorated Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Warnock’s campaign filed a lawsuit and won. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger appealed and lost, then dropped the matter. But the Republican National Convention then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which ruled Wednesday that Saturday voting could move forward.

The ACC Board of Elections voted 3–2 on Monday to extend early voting to Saturday, with Democratic appointee Rocky Raffle and nonpartisan appointees Willa Fambrough and Adam Shirley in favor, and Republican appointee Patricia Till and nonpartisan appointee Hank Qadir opposed.

Saturday voting will run from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. at the ACC Elections Office (155 E. Washington St.) and the Miriam Moore Community Center (410 McKinley Drive).

Voters can also cast their ballots on Sunday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the ACC Elections Office.

On Nov. 28, early voting will expand to include the ACC Elections Office, the Miriam Moore Community Center, the ACC Cooperative Extension Office (275 Cleveland Road), the ACC Tennis Center (4460 Lexington Road) and the Athens Regional Library (2025 Baxter St.). The library was added at a called Board of Elections meeting Nov. 17 after a miscommunication about the library’s availability.

Weekday hours at the elections office are from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m.–5 p.m. on Friday. The other four sites will be open from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Friday. Dec. 2 is the last day to vote early before Election Day on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Anyone who is registered to vote can vote in the runoff, regardless of whether they voted in the Nov. 8 general election. That election ended with Warnock receiving 49.4% of the vote, just shy of the 50% plus one needed to win outright. Walker received 48.5%, and Libertarian Chase Oliver, who was eliminated, received 2.1%.