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Thursday September 23rd, 2021 8:11PM

The Latest: Several Georgia polling sites staying open late

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the Senate runoffs in Georgia (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

Several counties in Georgia have polling locations that will stay open late because of a judge's order.

The state is holding two Senate runoff elections on Tuesday, with Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler facing Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican David Perdue going up against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Gabriel Sterling, a top official with the Georgia secretary of state's office, says one polling site in Tift County will stay open until 7:40 p.m., 40 minutes past the scheduled statewide closing time of 7 p.m.

He says a location in Chatham County will stay open until 7:33 p.m. and a second location will stay open until 7:35 p.m.

Polling locations in Columbia and Gwinnett counties have been ordered to stay open a few minutes late as well. A handful of other counties have requested, but not yet received, a judicial order for keeping polling locations open late.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GEORGIA SENATE ELECTIONS

Georgia's two Senate runoff elections on Tuesday will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Republican Kelly Loeffler is going up against Democrat Raphael Warnock, while Republican David Perdue is challenging Democrat Jon Ossoff. Democrats must win both seats to take control of the Senate.

Read more:

__ Biden, Trump warn of high stakes of Georgia Senate runoffs

__ 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:

6:10 p.m.

A new poll shows 6 in 10 voters in Georgia say Senate party control was the single most important factor in their vote for senator.

That’s according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,600 voters in Georgia.

Tuesday’s two runoff elections in the state will decide the balance of the Senate. Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler is facing Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican David Perdue is going up against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

In the November general election, AP VoteCast showed 53% of voters in Georgia considered party control the top factor in their vote.

Democrats must win both seats to take control of the Senate, while Republicans just need to win one of the two seats.

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6:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about the 2020 election have resonated with Republican voters in Georgia: About 7 in 10 agree with his false assertion that Joe Biden is not the legitimately elected president.

That’s according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,600 voters in the runoff elections. The survey was conducted for Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections on Tuesday, with Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler facing Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican David Perdue going up against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

According to the survey, Republican voters in Georgia overwhelmingly lack confidence that the 2020 vote count was accurate. The president’s repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud have been rebuffed in court.

Just 13% are very confident, compared with 84% of Democratic voters.

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5:50 p.m.

Georgia Public Broadcasting says its reporters have been denied access to the Georgia GOP’s election night watch party.

Managers for the nonprofit television and radio network expressed their disappointment in the Georgia Republican Party’s decision Tuesday evening, calling it “disturbing and against the spirit of the First Amendment.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting said in a statement: “When you deny GPB access to such a historic event, you also deny every Georgian living in the state’s 159 counties.”

Josephine Bennett, its director of regional news and partnerships, told The Associated Press that she did not know why its reporters were not being allowed to cover the watch party for the Georgia runoffs. The event is being held at a hotel in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood.

Representatives with the state Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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4:35 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden is striking a populist tone in the final hours of two pivotal Senate special elections in Georgia, saying that if Democrats win both, Congress will approve $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans that can help stabilize the pandemic-wracked economy.

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler is being challenged Tuesday by Democrat Raphael Warnock, while Republican David Perdue is facing Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since 1992. His party must win both Georgia seats to take control of the Senate. which is crucial to being able to advance his legislative agenda.

During an interview Tuesday with V103 in Atlanta, the president-elect said, “The thing that’s going to come before the Senate again is whether or not we keep the commitment and provide the money that the House of Representatives has made of $2,000 cash payments to families.”

The Democrat-controlled House previously approved a stimulus package that didn’t clear the Senate.

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4:15 p.m.

A judge has ordered a suburban Atlanta precinct to keep its polls open 10 minutes late because of an earlier delay.

Cobb County election officials say a precinct in Powder Springs was slow to get its voting machines running Tuesday morning. That prompted a judge to order the precinct at the George E. Ford Center to not close its polls until 7:10 p.m.

Powder Springs is a majority-Black city located about 18 miles (29 kilometers) northwest of downtown Atlanta.

Polls close across the rest of the state at 7 p.m., but anyone who is waiting in line at that time will still be allowed to vote.

Georgians are voting on two Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans will retain control by winning just one of the two seats, while Democrats must win both.

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3:30 p.m.

Georgia election officials say voting is going smoothly across the state, despite claims from President Donald Trump that some machines are not working in Republican areas.

“Reports are coming out of the 12th Congressional District of Georgia that Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds for over an hour,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them.”

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, responded to Trump’s tweet by saying that officials had already told the public about the problem in Columbia County and fixed the issue “hours ago.”

“The votes of everyone will be protected and counted,” Sterling tweeted. “Sorry you received old intel Mr. President.”

In a news release, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the incident in Columbia County was the only reported issue in the state. Columbia County is outside Augusta.

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2:15 p.m.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler is urging Republican voters to turn out in Georgia’s runoff elections to ensure the GOP holds the Senate as a “firewall” against President-elect Joe Biden and congressional Democrats.

Loeffler told reporters while campaigning Tuesday in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs that “the future of the country is on the ballot.”

Tuesday’s election pits her against Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff. The outcome will determine which party controls the Senate.

Meanwhile, Warnock is criticizing Loeffler for saying she will join a number of Senate Republicans on Wednesday in challenging Congress’ certification of Biden’s victory.

Warnock told supporters in suburban Marietta that Loeffler is “trying to take your voice” by helping President Donald Trump attempt to overturn his election defeat.

___

1:45 p.m.

Voters in Georgia did not appear to be encountering any major problems at the polls as of midday Tuesday.

Voting rights groups credited the large number of voters who opted to vote absentee or at an early voting location.

Georgia is holding runoff elections for both of its U.S. Senate seats. The outcome will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.

“On balance, the scope and scale of problems that voters are experiencing are not overwhelming and that, in large part, is a reflection of the fact that many eligible voters indeed had their voice heard prior to today’s runoff election,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which runs the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline.

Clarke said the bulk of calls coming in prior to Tuesday concerned delays in voters receiving their absentee ballots in the mail.

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12:40 p.m.

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.

___

11:50 a.m.

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.

___

10:15 a.m.

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.

___

7 a.m.

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.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
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