Georgia Vote Becomes An Overtime Nail Biter
Jan. 6, 2020
At midnight Wednesday (Jan. 6), the election runoff contest between the four candidates vying to become U.S. senators for Georgia has come down to just a few thousand votes between them.
CBS News reports Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock has taken a slight lead over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. Meanwhile Jon Ossoff, also a Democrat, is literally in a 50-50 percent ties with Republican Sen. David Perdue.
The Democratic challengers seem to be bolstered by late returns coming in from counties like DeKalb, Chatham and Fulton, which lean Democratic and are heavily African American.
Warnock gave remarks as he and the other candidates waited for the results, hopeful that he would be victorious.
“To everyone out there struggling today whether you voted for me or not know this, I hear you, I see you and every day I’m in the United States Senate, I will fight for you, I will fight for your family,” he said.
Neither of the races have been called by any of the major news organizations and may not be before the morning.
Georgia Runoff Goes Into Hairthin Margins
As the tallying continues through Tuesday night (Jan. 5), the Georgia senate runoff election remains too close to call as the four candidates are all very close with none apparently pulling away.
According to CBS News, Kelly Loeffler was edging Rev. Raphael Warnock was 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. Meanwhile David Perdue took a very slight lead over Jon Ossoff 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.
Still, the results could go in any direction while votes continue to be counted. More than 3 million votes were cast in early voting, according to elections officials. It is unclear just yet how many people cast ballots on the day of the runoff.
But for Democrats to win, they would likely need very strong showings in population centers like Fulton, Cobb, Forsyth, Chatham and Gwinnett counties
The Counting In Georgia Begins
Polls have closed throughout Georgia, with the exception of only a couple of places which were extended to around 7:30, and now vote counting begins. In a day that had few problems at precincts statewide, it was too early to call in either of the races.
A close vote is expected and it is not clear if the runoff election will be called by the end of Tuesday night, much like the presidential election. If it is not, however, it will continue into Wednesday (Jan. 6) in which Congress is set to certify the electoral college vote solidifying the election of Joe Biden as president.
The candidates will be looking at large population centers like Fulton County, which contains Atlanta and also Gwinnett, Clayton, Cobb and Chatham Counties.
CBS News has continually updated numbers coming in from the precincts through the night.
Local Ga., Plant Allows Employees To Leave Early To Vote
A company that had required its employees in Jackson, Ga., to work until 7 p.m., when polls close, has decided to let them off at 4:30 so they could vote.
American Woodmark, a kitchen and bath cabinet maker based in Winchester, Va., and has nine facilities around the country.
“We apologize for the misunderstanding of today’s plant closing time,” the company said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “American Woodmark supports the right to vote for all of our employees.”
The law in Georgia requires employees to be allowed time off to vote as long as it isn’t more than two hours. Voter advocacy group Election Protection reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office which in turn said it would contact American Woodmark to remind them of the law.
The ACLU of Georgia also sent an email to plant officials and said that denying time to vote is illegal and carries legal ramifications.
“Denying employees the opportunity to vote violates state law and retaliating against employees who leave work to vote may expose your company to legal liability,” the email said, according to the AJC.
Midday: Georgia Voting Running Smoothly With Few Problems, Officials Report
Polls have been open throughout Georgia for several hours and so far there are no reports of major problems, election officials there say.
Although it was not known earlier how election day would turn out, as of 12:45pm, polling locations reported wait times no longer than 30 minutes. Just one llocation said there were wait times more than 20 minutes, according to the Georgia Board of Elections website.
“After wait times averaging just 2 minutes on November 3rd, Georgia’s election administration is hitting a new milestone for effectiveness and efficiency,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “I have always said that after every election, half the people will be happy and half will be disappointed, but everyone should be confident in the reliability of the results.”
Tyler Perry Didn’t Let An Absentee Ballot Glitch Hold Him Back From Voting
Georgia voters who requested absentee ballots but never received them can still go to the polls to vote in person. Filmmaker Tyler Perry is one of those people and that’s just what he did.
Perry tweeted that he requested a ballot on Dec. 2, and told it was sent out on Dec. 4, but he never got it.
But Stacey Abrams, who has spent the last two years advocating for Georgia voters tweeted back in response: “We’ve got you.”
Still Perry, who was out of town and wanted to make sure his vote gets counted, opted to fly back to Georgia, where his studio is located, and cast his ballot.
But Perry also wanted to show everyone that he had made it to the polls on Tuesday morning, so he placed an additional post on Instagram.
Shorter Lines in Some Georgia Polling Places, But Longer Ones In Others
Voter advocate and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams tweeted an MSNBC report that Atlanta-area lines are not as long as expected because of the number of people who voted early.
But there were reports of longer lines in other parts of the state. In some places because of the number, but in others possibly because of problems with polling machines.
Some Technical Problems Surface Early
Reports have come in from some polling places in Gwinnett and Columbia counties, officials say.
In one precinct in Peachtree Corners, a scanner was not working, but Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said a technician “was sent to the location,” according to local station WXIA. Also, in suburban Augusta another technical error has been noted and is being addressed, officials say.
Voters had to use paper ballots temporarily instead of using machines. Gabriel Sterling, a state voting official said it was because of a programming error for security keys and poll worker cards.
Georgia’s Election: Who’s Running and What’s At Stake
Georgia’s runoff election comes down to the wire on Tuesday (Jan. 5). The candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church; investigative journalist and former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff; WNBA Atlanta Dream owner Kelly Loeffler; and business executive and politician David Perdue, all ran for the U.S. Senate, but none earned more than 50 percent of the vote in November.
By election rules, that meant a runoff was triggered, calling for Georigans to vote once more to see who they will send to Congress.
Ossoff, the Democratic challlenger hopes to unseat Perdue, who was elected in 2014. Meanwhile Warnock, is going up against Loeffler, who was appointed in 2019 by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired for health reasons.
In polls conducted by FiveThirtyEight.com, Warnock leads incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler 49.6 percent to 47.6 percent. Meanwhile, Ossoff leads incumben Perdue 49.3 percent to 47.9 percent.
What’s at stake is control of the U.S. Senate. If both Democratic candidates win, that would mean 50 percent of senators would be Democrats. With Kamala Harris presiding over the Senate in her role as Vice President, she would cast tie-breaking votes, in all likelihood in favor of Democrats, enabling Joe Biden’s administration to further its agenda.
But with a loss, and a Republican majority, gridlock on many crucial pieces of legislation could result.
Early voting closed last Thursday (Dec. 31) in Georgia. Voters cast more than 3 million ballots. Of those, 2 million were at polling places and another 1 million were mail-ins.
Photo Credits: Paras Griffin/Getty Images; Megan Varner/Getty Images; Jessica McGowan/Getty Images; Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images.