The eyes of the nation may be on the runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, but only registered voters in the state can cast ballots. In the balance: which party will control the Senate for at least the next two years.
The runoffs pit incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue against Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Republicans need one more seat for a majority in the Senate, while Democrats need to win both races.
In addition to the two Senate races, voters will see a Public Service Commission race those who live in St. Marys will also vote in two city council races where no candidate received 50% of the vote in November.
Through Sunday, just over 2 million Georgians have voted -- either absentee or in the first two weeks of in-person voting. Early voting ends Thursday in most counties (see locations/dates/times below) since Friday is a state holiday. All precincts will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 5.
In the Nov. 3 general election, more than half of the record 5 million votes cast were done by mail or through early voting.
No one expects turnout to be as high as the November election but Bernard Fraga, an Emory University professor who studies voting, said overall turnout could rise as high as 4 million.
One question is how many mail-in ballots will be cast in the election. By Sunday, 1.4 million mail-in ballots had been requested and 735,216 returned. In the general election, Democrat Joe Biden won 65% of the 1.3 million absentee ballots that were returned in Georgia -- a record fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fraga said it’s possible that mail-in ballots, if anything, will be even more favorable for Democrats in the runoff because of attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting by President Donald Trump and many Georgia Republicans.
“I don’t think Republicans are going to be voting by mail even at as high of rates as they did in November,” Fraga said.
Registered voters have until Friday to request a ballot to be able to vote by mail, although people are urged to request and return absentee ballots as early as possible.
Southeast Georgia early voting locations, times
During early voting, people don’t go to their regular polling places for early voting. Instead, they can choose to go to their county registrar’s office or any other early voting location established by county election boards. All in-person voters must also show valid government-issued photo identification.
- Board of Elections, 10305 N. Main Street, Nahunta - Weekdays through Dec. 31, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Kingsland: Camden County Annex, 107 N. Gross Road - Dec. 29-30, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Folkston: Elections Office at County Courthouse, 1520 Third Street - Dec. 28-30, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Dec. 31, 8:30 a.m.-noon.
- Brunswick: Ballard Recreation Complex, 30 Nimitz Drive - Dec. 28-31, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Brunswick: Glynn County Board of Elections, 1815 Gloucester Street - Dec. 28-31, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- St. Simons Fire Station #2, 1929 Demere Road - Dec. 28-31, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Courthouse Annex, 312 Nichols Street, Blackshear - Dec. 28-30, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dec. 31, 8:30 a.m.-noon
- Board of Elections, 408 Tebeau Street, Waycross - Dec. 28-30, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Dec. 31, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Check your voting status and get other information on the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter page.