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DeKalb Elections Board approves early voting locations, ties Saturday voting to lawsuit outcome

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DeKalb Elections Board approves early voting locations, ties Saturday voting to lawsuit outcome

A voter sports a Georgia voter sticker after casting a ballot in Avondale Estates on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

UPDATE: The county has officially announced its plans for advanced voting in the Dec. 6 runoff election. To view those announcements, click here

Here is our earlier story….

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb Elections Board, at its Nov. 15 meeting, navigated a shortened runoff window, conflicting interpretations of state law, and a pending lawsuit to devise a plan for early voting in the Dec. 6 runoff election.

Currently, Sen. Raphael Warnock is suing the state of Georgia over the Secretary of State’s contention that early voting will not be allowed on Saturday, Nov. 26. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger argues that early voting can’t begin on that day due to its proximity to state holidays: Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving.

The state holiday after Thanksgiving used to honor Robert E. Lee’s Birthday before the state removed the Confederate general’s name and changed it to simply a “state holiday,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Warnock is in a runoff against challenger Herschel Walker after neither reached the required threshold on Nov. 8.

Before recent changes in state law, counties had nine weeks to prepare for a runoff election. Now they have four, according to the AJC. But an even older law from 2016 prohibits Saturday voting if there is a holiday two days beforehand. Warnock’s lawsuit contends that law only applies to scheduled elections, not runoffs, the AJC reported.

The DeKalb Elections Board passed three different motions related to early voting.

— To allow Saturday voting on Nov. 26, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. if Warnock prevails in his lawsuit.

— To allow Sunday voting on Nov. 27, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or for as long as DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections can staff that early voting day.

— To allow advance voting on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at the Voter Registration and Elections office on Memorial Drive, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and at all early voting locations used in the previous election from Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some advance voting locations may be added to the list for the Nov. 8 election.

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