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Early voting for Senate runoff begins Monday in Effingham
Challenger Herschel Walker, left, faces Senator Raphael Warnock in a Dec. 6 runoff.

Effingham County officials aren’t adding Saturday voting in the current runoff between Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, after the Georgia Supreme Court's ruling allowing counties to add voting this Saturday by local decision.

Wednesday, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a unanimous, one-sentence ruling declining to review or stay a ruling by the state's intermediate appellate court allowing Saturday voting. Republicans had objected to the Saturday voting.

In-person early voting for Effingham County’s registered voters will be 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Nov. 28–Dec. 2. The one location will be the elections office area at 284 Ga. 119 in Springfield.

Also, the deadline for voters to request that paper absentee ballots be mailed to them is Monday, Nov. 28. The State Election Board extended that deadline from Friday because of the holiday.

Valid absentee ballots must be counted if returned to the elections office by 7 p.m. Dec. 6, Election Day.

Effingham County’s traditional precincts will be open for runoff voting Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Eighteen of the state's 159 counties — including six of the 10 most populous — planned to offer voting on Saturday, interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling said on Twitter late Tuesday. Some counties plan to offer early voting Sunday, ahead of the required start Monday.

Counties including Chatham, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Muscogee and Walton counties are moving forward with weekend early voting after the Georgia Court of Appeals turned back a challenge mounted by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office.

Immediately after the results of the Nov. 8 election put Warnock and Walker into a runoff, Raffensperger’s office indicated that Saturday, Nov. 26, would be set aside as a weekend early voting day.

Subsequently, however, Raffensperger said it would be illegal to hold early voting on that day, citing a state law that prohibits runoffs on any day immediately following a state holiday. Besides Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, Friday is a state holiday.

The Warnock campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Party of Georgia filed a lawsuit arguing the law the secretary of state cited applies to primary and general elections but not to runoffs.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled late last week in favor of the plaintiffs, and the state Court of Appeals upheld that decision on Monday.

State officials accepted that ruling and said they would not pursue further appeals. But the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee, which had been allowed to join the case as intervenors, on Tuesday appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, which denied their appeal Wednesday.