New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman urged national Democrats to move to Georgia and vote in its upcoming Senate runoff elections—a clear violation of state law, should the voters leave after the races conclude.
"I hope everybody moves to Georgia, you know, in the next month or two, registers to vote, and votes for these two Democratic senators," Friedman said during a Monday-night CNN appearance.
Georgia election law does not include a length-of-residency requirement in order to vote in the state. It does, however, prohibit prospective voters from "residing in the state briefly with the intention just to vote and then move away."
"You do not have to establish residency for a period of time before an election in order to qualify to vote, but you do have to establish intent to remain a resident," Honest Elections Project executive director Jason Snead told the Washington Free Beacon. "You can't bus yourself in, register at the Holiday Inn, vote, and then leave two days later. That would clearly constitute fraud."
Party control of the Senate will be determined in the January 5 runoffs. Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will face Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively, after all four candidates failed to receive a majority of votes in the November election. Both Ossoff and Warnock have relied on out-of-state donors to fund their campaigns, and the Democrats launched their runoff bids by fundraising with Silicon Valley progressives just days ago.
Some local activists have responded warmly to the call for non-Georgians to vote in the runoffs. Handmaids Coalition of Georgia organizer Tamara Stevens invited "Northern Democrats" and "West Coast Liberals" to flock to the state in order to vote in a recent Facebook post.
"You are all invited to spend the Winter in Georgia," Stevens wrote. "Come on down and we will cook for you too!!!"
Failed presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced on Saturday that he would be "moving to Georgia to help Ossoff and Warnock win." While he did not disclose if he plans to vote for the Democrats, he did note that there "isn't much time" before the state's December 7 registration deadline in a previous tweet.
Snead lambasted the strategy to coax out-of-state Democrats to move to Georgia to vote, calling it a "naked political power grab."
"My general reaction to this is, are you kidding me?" he said. "It's supposed to be the senator from the state of Georgia, and I think that Georgians have a right to select their representatives and have a government that is by and for the people of Georgia."
Neither Ossoff nor Warnock returned requests for comment.