Georgia votes in Senate polls
Voters streamed to polling sites in Georgia on Tuesday in a pair of run-off elections that will determine control of the US Senate, a showdown crucial to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to achieve an ambitious legislative agenda after succeeding President Donald Trump.
Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a pastor at a Black church in Atlanta, in a state Biden narrowly carried against the Republican Trump in the November 3 presidential election.
It has been a tumultuous contest — setting records for campaign spending and early-turnout in Georgia — and its final days have been dominated by Trump’s continued effort to subvert the presidential election results.
On Saturday, Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory, falsely claiming massive fraud. Trump’s ongoing efforts to undo Biden’s victory have caused a dramatic split in his own party and condemnation from critics who accuse him of undermining democracy.
Democrats need to win both races to gain Senate control from Republicans. Results are expected to be in by Wednesday morning.
No Democratic candidate has won a Senate race in Georgia in two decades. Opinion surveys have shown both races to be exceedingly close. The run-off elections, a quirk of state law, became necessary when no candidate in either senatorial race exceeded 50 per cent of the vote in November.
Voters endured long lines at some polling sites and had no lines at others. Scott Sweeney, 63, said he was voting for Perdue and Loeffler as a way to block the Democrats from getting control of the Senate.
“I believe the two of them are consistent with my values,” Sweeney said at a polling place in Cobb county, northwest of Atlanta. “Taxes for one, and traditional values.”
Also voting in Cobb county, Roshard Tamplin, 42, said he backed the two Democrats, citing civil rights and voting rights as important issues.
“They’re trying to make it harder to vote, especially for black people,” Tamplin, who is black, said of Republicans.
Biden, supposed to take office on January 20, was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win in Georgia since 1992.