Georgia runoff

Breakdown of Georgia votes by county. |
Photo provided by Wikipedia Commons

Breakdown of Georgia votes by county. | Photo provided by Wikipedia Commons

By Karlee Van De Venter, Arts and Features Editor

With an already unprecedented election year, Georgia citizens are now carrying the weight of voting for senate control. Our senate is comprised of 100 legislators serving six-year terms with staggered elections. So every two years, a third of the seats are up for election. 

The importance of senate control is primarily about the power to swing decisions. If there are more Republicans voting, chances are that the results will favor Republican ideals. Same if Democrats have control. 

Before the election, Republicans held the lead with 53 seats. Current election results show Republicans at 50 seats (one flipped) and Democrats with 48 (two flipped). Georgia had two seats up for election, because one of the incumbents retired last early. The state requires one candidate to finish with more than 50% in order to win an election. Otherwise, it goes into a runoff with the two top candidates. 

The special election had over twenty candidates on the ballot, so it’s no surprise it went into runoff. However, officials were not expecting the regular election to come down to less than a .5% difference as they did. The runoff will take place on January 5. 

The current election map for the 2020 Presidential Election race.

If Republicans win either seat, they would have the majority despite losing house majority and the presidency. If Democrats win both seats, senate would be split down the middle. In that scenario, any ties that occur in the next two years would be settled by the Vice President, who is projected to be Democrat Kamala Harris. It would also mean that Democrats would control all of congress, as well as winning the presidency. 

That could be huge for the Biden administration. Holding the majority in house and senate at the beginning of a presidency is rare, especially when it comes down to Georgia, a famously Republican state that flipped for Biden. 

The advantages of controlling congress are abundant right now. For starters, it would bring down Mitch McConnell as majority leader. McConnell’s decisions, while questionable to some, have a lot of weight in congress, as we’ve seen. 

Biden would also have a much easier time passing legislation, especially regarding bipartisan issues. It would also affect Biden’s cabinet and who is picked. 

Senate also approves treaties, ambassadors and federal judges. As we saw earlier this year with Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation into the Supreme Court, these approvals can be very influential on American people. 

A voter registration and absentee ballot lies on a table in the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Jan. 8, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Though Incirlik Airmen may be away from their home state, they still have the ability to submit an absentee ballot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

Both Republican incumbents, President Trump, and multiple other politicians have declared Georgia’s 2020 election results to be fraudulent. While these are considered baseless claims, they still placed blame on the governor and secretary of state, both Republicans. According to various reports, the disagreement has split Republican voters in Georgia and sparked debates on how to proceed. 

It is speculated that those uncertainties may hurt Republicans turnout in January, helping the Democratic candidates. Some believe Democrats will also be even more motivated to vote, after seeing Biden win the states electoral votes by such a slim margin. 

However, others think Republicans may still secure the majority. Georgia runoffs famously favor Republicans, and have a lower turnout rate than the original election. 

Trump will be visiting the state and holding multiple events, the first of which on Dec 6, but it is unclear what messages he will push. 

It is hard to predict how Georgia’s runoff election will end. Regardless, it’ll be a memorable election for Georgia, and the rest of the U.S too.