With control of the Senate at stake, the Jan. 5 runoff for Georgia’s two Senate seats has become the political focal point of the nation. Two Republican incumbents, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are facing runoffs against well-funded Democratic opponents.
If the victory goes to those two Democrats — Jon Ossoff facing Mr. Perdue, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock facing Ms. Loeffler — control of the Senate will become evenly split, 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaking vote.
National interest in the election is so high that Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, has warned out-of-staters that it is a felony to relocate temporarily to Georgia for the sole purpose of voting in the runoff, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
For those who are eligible to vote, here are the rules:
When is the voter registration deadline?
The deadline for registering to vote in the Georgia runoff is Dec. 7. Georgia’s voter registration portal asks for a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number. Interested residents may register by clicking here.
How can voters obtain an absentee ballot?
Absentee ballots will not be automatically mailed to voters, but it’s not hard to request one. Residents can request one from their county registrar’s office by clicking here and locating their county or by following this link. So far, 687,528 absentee ballots have been requested statewide.
In Georgia’s general election this month, a record number of people — more than 1.3 million — voted by absentee ballot, a number attributed to the coronavirus, which election officials expect will drive up absentee voting during the runoff as well.
When will absentee ballots arrive?
Absentee ballots will be mailed beginning Nov. 18. Voters may track the status of their absentee ballot request by clicking here.
How do Georgians vote by mail?
Georgia voters can follow the instructions included on their ballots to return them by mail. The U.S. Postal Service recommends allowing seven days for ballots to be received by elections officials, so voters should return theirs as quickly as possible to make sure they arrive by Jan. 5.
Will drop boxes be available?
Yes. Just as in the November general election, Georgia election officials will place secure drop boxes at locations in their counties where voters can return completed ballots. The deadline for submitting ballots is 7 p.m. on Jan. 5.
Can I vote early in person?
Yes. In-person voting in Georgia begins Dec. 14. Voters can check the early-voting locations in their counties on this site. A record number of Georgians — nearly 2.7 million — cast early, in-person votes for the Nov. 3 general election.
Can I vote on Election Day?
As always, polls will be open on Election Day, Jan. 5. Voters can check the location of their precincts at this site.
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