Incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock hit back at his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, this week over accusations he wants to change Georgia’s voting rules in the midst of campaigning for the Dec. 6 runoff election.
Speaking with Fox News Digital during a press gaggle following a Thursday campaign rally in Fort Valley, Georgia, Warnock dismissed Walker’s criticism and defended the lawsuit he filed alongside the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday to move the start of early voting for the runoff to the Saturday after Thanksgiving rather than the following Monday.
“It doesn’t matter to me what he thinks,” Warnock said when asked about Walker’s criticism.
Walker told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that Warnock’s lawsuit amounted to trying to “change the rules in the middle of the game.”
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“They’ve known this, and it’s sad that right now they’re making it harder on the voters by bringing questions into the election system rather than just letting people vote and getting this done when there’s more time,” Walker said.
Warnock, however, insisted his lawsuit was well-founded, and accused Georgia officials of misinterpreting election law.
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“I have spent years, long before running for office, focused on voting rights, voter mobilization, voter registration and making sure that every eligible voter can be heard. That’s been my life’s work, long before I was in any campaign. And so, I will always focus on strengthening our democracy, on making sure that people’s voices can be heard,” he told Fox.
“This is not theoretical stuff. When you talk about disallowing voting on a Saturday, who does that hurt? I’ll tell you who it hurts. It disproportionately hurts wage workers, people who have to punch a clock. And so I want to make sure that there is equity in our system,” he said.
“It is my view that Georgia officials have misinterpreted the law, and so the lawsuit’s intent is to get them to follow the law as it is. It’s not new rules. I’m saying they have misinterpreted the law as it is currently written, and it would be less than responsible for me not to do everything I can to make sure people’s voices are heard, and that they have every right that ought to be accorded to them under the current law,” he added.
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According to Georgia law, Saturday voting is prohibited as long as a state holiday falls within the two days prior to that Saturday. In the case of the Dec. 6 runoff, Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 24, prevents any voting from taking place on Saturday, Nov. 26, the date Georgia officials initially thought might begin the early voting period.
Each individual county may choose to offer up to three additional early voting days once the election results from the Nov. 8 election are certified. However, early voting must begin by Monday, Nov. 28, and must end on Friday, Dec. 2.
A number of liberal media figures falsely blamed the prohibition of early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26, on a second Georgia state holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This day, simply referred to as a “State Holiday,” was formerly a day set aside to honor the birth of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but was changed in 2015.
The law would still affect Saturday voting regardless of the existence of that Friday holiday because of Thanksgiving also falling within the two-day period preventing the start of early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Warnock’s lawsuit argues that the holiday law does not apply to runoffs, but solely primaries and general elections.