Georgia voters cast ballots in key runoff elections

Voters in Georgia wait in line to cast ballots to determine control of the United States Senate. (Reuters)

Atlanta – Voters streamed to polling sites in Georgia on Tuesday in a pair of runoff elections to determine control of the United States Senate, a showdown crucial to the success of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda.

Republican senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler faced Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a pastor at a Black church in Atlanta in a state Biden narrowly carried against President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the November 3 presidential election.

Democrats must win both Georgia races to seize Senate control from the Republicans. Failure to do so would make it much more difficult for Biden to enact new legislation in a bitterly divided Congress. Results are expected to be known by Wednesday morning.

No Democrat has won a Senate race in Georgia in two decades. Opinion surveys show both races as exceedingly close. The runoff elections, a quirk of state law, became necessary when no candidate in either senatorial race exceeded 50 per cent of the vote in November.

Voters endured long lines at some polling sites and had no lines at others.

In Atlanta, Jonathan Temple, 57, said he backed the two Republicans.

“If we lose, we’ll get higher taxes for sure – you can bet on it,” Temple said. “We’ll have a runaway liberal agenda, runaway spending. That’s not good for America.”

Voting in Cobb County outside Atlanta, Roshard Tamplin, 42, said he supported the two Democrats, citing civil rights and voting rights as important issues.

“They’re trying to make it harder to vote, especially for Black people,” Tamplin, who is Black, said of Republicans.

The final days of the tense contests, which set records for campaign spending and early turnout in Georgia, were dominated by Trump’s continued efforts to subvert the presidential election results.

On Saturday, Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory, again falsely claiming massive fraud (Reuters)


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