GEORGIA, November 22, 2022— Today, attorney Jake Evans filed an amicus brief on behalf of Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections, Inc. in support of the RNC, NRSC, and GAGOP’s joint appeal seeking to stop the last minute changes to Georgia’s election laws.
Evans said, “I am honored to represent Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections Inc. in protecting our elections by precluding the changing of our election laws in the final hours. Such last-minute attempts undermine voter confidence in our elections and should not be allowed.”
The law, Senate Bill 202, signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in March 2021, cut in half the time allowed between a general election and a runoff election — drastically shortening the period during which many voters must request, receive and cast ballots. The law’s narrowed time frame also effectively cuts the early in-person voting period, from a minimum of 16 days in 2020 to a minimum of 5 in 2022, while existing rules have ensured almost no new voters will be eligible to vote in the runoff.
Under the Senate bill, Georgia runoff elections now take place 28 days after the general election — less than half the original nine-week period that existed before the law. This year’s runoff will take place on Dec. 6, following the Nov. 8 midterms.
The law also doesn’t allow voters to register to vote in the December 6th Special Election. “The bottom line is that nobody can vote in this runoff who didn’t register as of Nov. 7,” said Lang. She added there’s likely still a narrow new pool of voters who registered too late to vote in the general election but could make the 30-day deadline for the runoff.
“Under existing runoff procedures, most Georgians who want to cast an absentee mail-in ballot (voters 65 and older and disabled voters will be sent an absentee mail-in ballot automatically if registered to vote) must first request such a ballot, in compliance with the law’s new voter ID requirement. The deadline for local election officials to receive those absentee ballot applications is Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving,” wrote NBC News.
“Once voters receive their absentee ballots, they must choose their candidates and mail those ballots back, again in compliance with the voter ID requirement. Absentee mail-in ballots received before 7 p.m. on the day of the election — Dec. 6 — will be counted, per Georgia’s law. Voters may also deposit their absentee ballots in drop boxes.”
SB 202 stipulates that early in-person voting must end the Friday before the runoff. This year, that would be Friday Dec. 2.
The law, as interpreted by the Georgia secretary of state’s office, also stipulates that early in-person voting not be held on any Saturday that follows a “public or legal holiday” on the preceding Thursday or Friday. This year, that would mean there would be no early in-person voting on Nov. 26, the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
But a Fulton County judge ruled Friday that the office cannot prohibit counties from allowing voting that day, after a voting rights group, along with Warnock and his campaign, sued the state, claiming the specific language of the law suggested that the barring of Saturday voting after a holiday — in this case Thanksgiving — doesn’t actually apply to runoff elections.
If voting is ultimately not allowed on that Saturday, SB 202 says Saturday voting should be held the previous weekend (in this year’s case, Saturday, Nov. 19). But under Georgia law, runoff voting may not begin until after officials have certified the general election vote, which will be on Monday, Nov. 21, per the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. That means, no Saturday voting will be allowed on Nov. 19, either.
Whether the judiciary allows voting on Nov. 26 or not, the only other days most voters will be able to vote early in-person will be from Monday Nov. 28 to Friday Dec. 2. The law states that early voting “shall end on the Friday immediately prior to each primary, election, or runoff.”
Read the brief here.
Source: Several sources contributed to the article, including Attorney Jack Evans.