ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Senate runoffs in Georgia (all times local):
A Georgia election official says turnout appears light statewide as voters decide runoff elections for both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats.
The outcome Tuesday will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.
More than 3 million voters cast ballots before Election Day. That’s more than 60% of the nearly 5 million who voted in November’s presidential election.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler and fellow Republican David Perdue face Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. If both Republicans lose, Democrats will control both houses of Congress and the White House.
Robust early voting helped President-elect Joe Biden win Georgia in November and is expected to benefit the Democratic Senate candidates as well. President Donald Trump held a rally in deeply conservative northern Georgia on Monday in hopes of driving large numbers of GOP voters to the polls Tuesday.
Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, says polling places across the state were seeing light turnout Tuesday as of about noon. She said voters were waiting only about five minutes to cast ballots.
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is promising rapid passage of $2,000 stimulus checks for coronavirus relief if Georgia voters flip control of the Senate to Democrats.
Ossoff told reporters outside an Atlanta polling site Tuesday that “history is unfolding in Georgia right now” as voters decide runoffs for both the state’s Senate seats. If Ossoff and fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock defeat Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, Democrats will control the White House and both chambers of Congress.
The federal government has approved $600 checks to help relieve the economic hardships of the pandemic, but Republican leaders in the Senate have blocked efforts to raise it to $2,000 despite support for the higher amount from President Donald Trump.
Ossoff said Trump made “a direct attack on Georgia voters” when he asked Georgia’s top elections official to “find” votes to overturn Trump’s electoral loss in the state during a weekend phone call.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GEORGIA SENATE ELECTIONS
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__ Analysis: With call, Trump shows no limit to his power grab
__ GA election officials reject Trump call to ‘find’ more votes
__ In Georgia, Biden’s presidency meets early defining moment
__ Trump-appointed US attorney resigns in Georgia
HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
In conservative-leaning east Cobb County, dozens of red Kelly Loeffler signs and dozens more blue David Perdue signs dotted the median of the highway at the base of Sweat Mountain, one of metro Atlanta’s highest peaks.
At the small churches and community centers that hosted voting Tuesday, there were no lines but a steady stream of voters. At Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, a new car arrived about every 30 seconds. But there were no lines, and voters were in and out in less than 5 minutes.
A few miles south, near Marietta, the Loeffler and Perdue signs gave way to signs for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock along Powers Ferry Road. In that part of the county, Portuguese can be heard in many of the Brazilian restaurants and businesses such as the Brazilian Bakery and Cafe. It’s one of many neighborhoods in central and southern Cobb County where increasing diversity in recent years has helped to fuel strong support for Democratic candidates.
Tuesday’s elections will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate.
Georgia voters have begun casting their ballots to determine which party will control the U.S. Senate.
Polls for the runoffs opened statewide at 7 a.m. Tuesday and are scheduled to close at 7 p.m.
The results will have huge implications on President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to pass his legislative agenda on matters such as the pandemic, health care, taxation, energy and the environment.
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock need to win both races for a 50-50 Senate. That would allow Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to tilt the chamber to Democrats with the tiebreaking vote.
Ossoff is facing David Perdue, while Warnock is challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and trying to become the state’s first Black senator.
More than 3 million Georgians have already voted either early in-person or via absentee ballots. That’s more than 60% of the nearly 5 million who voted in November’s presidential election.