Runoffs will decide two Georgia U.S. Senate races in January; State PSC runoff also moved to January

Georgia voters will have some unfinished voting business after Tuesday’s general election. Two dates have been set for runoff elections, held to choose the winner of races in which no candidate won a legal majority.

But the runoff that is getting national attention is the second one, on Jan. 5, that will decide both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate elections and potentially which party controls the U.S. Senate. (The runoff for state and local races is Dec.

1.)  If a runoff for a general election seems unusual, it is. Georgia is one of the few states that requires the winning candidate to receive a majority vote in the general election.

Adding to the oddity is that Georgia has two U.S. Senate races on the ballot and both will now be decided by runoffs. Republican Sen. David Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in one race. Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in the second. Georgia’s twin U.S. Senate runoffs are bringing national attention to Georgia, including expected visits by national political leaders. And local television will be filled with campaign advertising for a few more weeks.

Why two dates? Federal elections, such as the U.S. Senate and Congress, follow different rules for runoffs, including an extension of voter registration. The nine-week runoff election for federal races is used in Georgia because federal law requires time for overseas voters to return ballots in federal elections, such as the U.S. Senate.

By Brian O’Shea, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution