Four Georgia Counties Sued Over Runoff Early Voting, As Republicans Hold Slim Leads

Four counties in Georgia are being sued over early voting dates. This is part of a push for more to be added for the state's crucial runoff elections, which are set to determine control of the Senate.

Democracy Docket detailed that the suits filed on behalf of New Georgia Project, a group that looks to "register and civically engage Georgians," in the Bibb, Clarke, Houston and Paulding counties.

"Currently, the named counties are not offering early voting on December 19th, December 31st, or on any of the days in January, despite statutory requirements compelling them to do so," a statement from Democracy Docket read.

"The lawsuits collectively seek to ensure that all four counties amend their early voting days to include the additional dates and hours."

The dates mentioned specifically are Saturdays, which the groups argue state law details early voting days must be held on.

However, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports election officials saying that weekend voting is required by state law only for a primary or general election. They said the same rule does not apply for a runoff.

Newsweek has contacted the counties involved in the suits for comment.

Early in-person voting in the state began on December 14, with the main election date set for January 5.

The races, in which incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face challenges to their Georgia seats from Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff respectively, have drawn heightened national focus due to their sway over control in Congress' upper chamber. Democrat wins would take them to 48 seats, while they have two independents who caucus with them. This would see the Senate split 50/50, with the vice president then called in to cast tiebreaking votes.

Polling shows a tight race, but with a slight advantage going to the GOP candidates.

The latest Emerson College polling puts Perdue up by 3 points, with 51 percent of those 605 likely voters asked December 14 to 16 stating they would go for him compared to 48 percent for Ossoff. Loeffler similarly held a lead with 51 percent to 48 percent over Warnock. The polling has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

Director of Emerson College Polling Spencer Kimball said in a statement alongside the polling that "the data revealed there is little crossover support, which suggests one party should win both seats."

Insider Advantage polling showed the race tighter still, with Perdue and Loeffler each holding 1-point leads of 49 percent to 48 percent for their competitors, in survey results from December 14.

Newsweek has contacted each of the campaigns for comment on the state of polling.

warnock abrams and ossoff listen to Biden
(L-R) U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams and U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff listen as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally at Pullman Yard on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Warnock and Ossoff are running bids to unseat incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Drew Angerer/Getty Images