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When will we know who won the second round of the Georgia Senate? Probably not tonight



The nation’s eyes are on Georgia tonight, where voters will finally decide on two U.S. Senate second-round elections that will determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill over the next two years.

Although the polling stations are closed at 7 p.m. Eastern time, more than 3 million Georgians had previously voted in the early poll – a dynamic that many observers say bodes well for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock as they seek to topple incumbent Republican David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively.

But although 40% of Georgian registered voters had their say in advance, the process of counting and counting the state ballots will likely take longer than many would realize – which raises questions distinct possibility that winners will not be declared by Wednesday morning. , if not later.

While some states allow the counting of postal ballots before election day, Georgian laws prohibit the counting and tabulation of these ballots before the close of polls tonight. Polling officers were, however, allowed to begin processing the ballots – scanning them, checking them and preparing them for compilation – by January 5.

This means that the long, gradual process of tallying millions of votes will not begin until tonight and could extend into Wednesday before we have a clear picture of how each race is going – not to mention who is up for it. to win.

Once the count begins, Republicans should see a quick advantage, as more rural and conservative areas of the state typically report results earlier than more metropolitan and liberal-leaning areas like Atlanta and Savannah and their suburbs. surrounding areas. Additionally, in-person votes – which have heavily skewed Republicans in this pandemic-devastated election season – are typically counted before mail and mail ballots, which tends much more in favor of Democrats.

But in the end, how quickly the winners are declared will depend a lot on how close each race is. And since both contest seem separated by exceptionally thin margins, it could realistically take days before we know for sure – as evidenced by the presidential election, when it took Joe Biden 10 days to finally be declared the winner government by about 12,000 votes. And even then, thin margins like that would prolong things even further, as it would activate Georgia’s electoral rules. make an automatic recount compulsory if the margin of victory is less than 0.5%.

So, if you have to get up early for work on Wednesday, it’s probably best not to stay up late while waiting for the second round results to be announced. There’s a good chance we probably won’t have clear winners by the time you wake up.

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