The Liberty County Board of Elections has established extended early voting hours for the December 6 U.S. Senate runoff – but board members opted not to have Saturday voting this weekend.
Early voting hours for the runoff between incumbent U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker will be held Monday, November 28, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, December 2.
Early voting will take place at both the main elections office in the historic courthouse, 100 Main Street in Hinesville, and the East End Complex in Midway.
A state law prohibiting voting taking place just after a state holiday was struck down. Warnock’s campaign sued to have the law overturned – Thanksgiving and the following Friday are state holidays – and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox ruled in their favor. Judge Cox said the law does not apply to runoffs.
The state Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court judge’s decision.
But that ruling gave local officials the option of having early voting. Elections board chairman John McIver issued his concerns over having enough poll workers for Saturday’s early voting, since many of them had made plans to be elsewhere before the judge’s ruling came down. The cost of a Saturday early voting also could be as much as $7,000 and Saturday early voting typically has had fewer ballots cast than other early voting days.
Because neither Warnock nor Walker garnered a majority of the votes in November’s general election, a runoff election is needed. Warnock received nearly 1.95 million votes, or 49.44%, and Walker had close to 1.91 million votes, 48.49% of the votes cast in the state.
Warnock won the seat in a January 2021 runoff against then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who had been appointed to fill the seat vacated when Johnny Isakson resigned for health reasons.
Elections supervisor Ronda Walthour said her office has sent out 1,279 absentee ballots as of Monday for the runoff.