Everything to Know about the Georgia Senate Runoff Election
You know the fight's not over yet!
You know the fight's not over yet!
Text: Juliana Bakumenko
After a nearly-week long Presidential election, in which Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected POTUS and VPOTUS, respectively, the importance of voting continues.
All eyes were on Georgia as final votes were being counted, and the historically “red” state went “blue” in this vote for our future, in large part due to the tireless efforts of Black women in Georgia, the state narrowly electing Joe Biden, both in the initial count and the defacto recount. Despite this, the focus on Georgia remains as two runoff elections for Georgia Senate seats will take place on January 5, 2021.
In order for Biden and Harris’ administration to be able to pass meaningful legislation following their inauguration, whether that be through progressive, new policies or by reversing the harmful impacts of the Trump administration, Congress must be in support of these policies. Unfortunately, many Congresspeople make decisions based on their party’s politics rather than their constituents’ wishes, meaning that a majority Republican Senate is less likely to support Biden’s liberal policies and might intentionally block them. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell notoriously blocked President Obama’s attempts, and this is all too real of a possibility under Biden as well.
A Democratic majority Senate will be more likely to rule in favor of the progressive policies that benefit everyone rather than a select few, from Medicare to climate-focused policies to LGBTQIA protections. This is why all eyes are on Georgia to flip the Senate from red to blue for the Senate runoffs, and your eyes should be on it too.
Under Georgia state law, if neither candidate receives 50% of the vote in the initial election, a runoff is held, and two will be held for the first time since 2008.
In one, “incumbent” Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp rather than elected to her seat, and Democrat Raphael Warnock are the primary candidates. Warnock is running on a platform of affordable healthcare and hopes to protect working-class people.
Get to know Reverend Raphael Warnock’s positions here.
In the other election, Republican David Perdue is headed into a runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Ossoff is running on a platform of anti-corruption and is dedicated to clean energy as well as supporting small businesses and working class families.
Learn more about Jon Ossoff’s platform here.
If you live in one of the Georgia districts Ossoff and Warnock are running in, make sure you’re ready to vote this January. The voter registration deadline for the January 5, 2021 runoff is December 7, 2020.
To register online, you must have a valid Georgia driver’s license or ID card issued by Georgia DDS. If you don’t have either of these things, you can apply via mail-in form, which will ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number in lieu of a driver’s license or Georgia ID number. Print and complete the form and mail it; the postage is prepaid. If you don’t own a printer, you can get one of these forms at the county board of registrars’ office, or an election office, libraries, schools, etc.
Early voting for the January runoff starts on December 14, 2020, and you can check your county’s elections website for polling place locations and hours.
You can also vote absentee for the Georgia Senate runoff. To do so you can complete this application online (you’ll need your county, state ID number, birth date, and legal name). You can also fill out this PDF and return to your county board of registrars via mail or email.
Absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, January 5. Request and send your ballot sooner rather than later. Georgia state law says that absentee ballots can be requested through the Friday before the election, but for the January 5 runoff, that Friday is New Year’s Day, so you’ll want to plan ahead for this election. You can also drop off your ballot at an official county drop box up until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check your county’s election website for details and drop box locations.
If you’d like to vote in-person for this election, just make sure you’re registered and plan out your Election Day plan so you have the time to go and vote. Find your local polling station here, and remember how important it is to exercise your right to vote!