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Senin, 04 Januari 2021

The Georgia runoff elections are important for Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Here's what you need to know - ABC News

Tomorrow, just over a month after the US presidential election, millions of voters in the state of Georgia will return to the polls.

They'll be voting in two Senate runoff races that will be vitally important for the first two years of the Biden administration.

Here are five key issues to get you up to speed on what's happening.

1. Why is there another election so soon?

At the 2020 US election, the two separate races for Georgia's Senate seats were close.

So close in fact, that in both races no single candidate won more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Georgia has special rules that say when that happens, the top two candidates advance to what's known as a "runoff".

Basically, they run the election again but with just two people in the race. And in this unusual case, they'll be holding two elections.

There won't be another "runoff" situation. The winners of these two elections will be elected as the next Senators for Georgia.

Has this happened before? Not quite like this. In 2008 and in 1992 there were runoff elections to determine Georgia's senators. But there have never been two at the same time.

2. Is Donald Trump on the ballot?

No.

These are runoffs for the Senate seats in Georgia.

The four candidates at the 2021 Georgia runoff elections — Jon Ossoff, David Perdue, Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler
The four candidates at the 2021 Georgia runoff elections — Jon Ossoff, David Perdue, Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler(Reuters)

One race will is being contested between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

The other race is being contested between Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock.

The results of the presidential election in the state (which Joe Biden won 49.5 per cent to 49.3 per cent after several recounts) still stand.

A last-minute bombshell: The race was rocked at the last minute by a leaked phone call where US President Donald Trump pressured Georgia's top election official to "find" enough votes to overturn his defeat in the state.

3. Who is going to win?

Both races are too close to call.

FiveThirtyEight's polling averages of the races put both in toss-up territory with Ossoff leading Perdue 49.2 to 47.4 and Warnock leading Loeffler 49.5 to 47.2.

Less than 90,000 votes separated Perdue and Ossoff in November and while Warnock led Loeffler in their race by more than 300,000 votes, there was another serious Republican challenger in that race who won 980,000 votes.

Voting in these races is not compulsory, and turnout at runoff elections is historically very low.

Early voters queue to cast their votes
Voters in Georgia have been voting in large numbers ahead of the runoff election.(Reuters: Elijah Nouvelage)

But Georgia voters are turning out in similar numbers to the presidential election thanks to the significant stakes on the line.

Show me the money: And incredible amount of money has spent on the runoffs, with both races expected to set fundraising records.

Politico reports that combined, the four candidates have raised more than $US340 million ($445 million).

4. Why is this so important for Joe Biden?

Because the races will determine which party controls the US Senate for the next two years.

After the 2020 US election, Republicans controlled 50 seats and Democrats 48 (with the two Georgia seats in the balance).

If Democrats win both seats, the Senate will sit at 50-50. Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris can then be called on to break ties in Democrats' favour, allowing the Biden administration to deliver on its promises.

Kamala Harris smiling and looking up to the lights
If Democrats can win both runoffs in Georgia, as vice-president Kamala Harris will be able to break the deadlock in the Senate.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

But if Republicans win just one seat, they'll control the Senate for the next two years and be able to block any major moves president-elect Biden might want to pursue until 2023.

Georgia on their minds: Despite the presidential race being off the ballot, both President Donald Trump and president-elect Joe Biden will campaign in the state today.

5. Will we know the result on the day?

Almost certainly not.

Just like the presidential election, a huge portion of Georgia voters have taken advantage of early in-person voting and mail voting.

And remember, this race is likely to be really close.

An employee of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections processes ballots
We didn't know the results of the presidential election in Georgia for days. And there were several recounts.(Reuters: Brandon Bell)

It could be several days until we know a final result (and that's not even accounting for the recounts and lawsuits that may arrive after polling day).

Get ready to wait this one out.

So much counting: The delayed result means counting will still be happening when Congress meets to count the electoral college votes (and formalises Joe Biden's win) just 24 hours later.

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2021-01-04 18:45:00Z
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