The eyes of the nation tonight flip to Georgia, the place voters will lastly resolve two U.S. Senate runoff elections that may decide the steadiness of energy on Capitol Hill over the subsequent two years.

Although polls closed at 7 p.m. Japanese Time, more than 3 million Georgians had already forged their ballots in early voting—a dynamic that many observers imagine bodes nicely for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock as they appear to unseat Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively.

However regardless of 40% of registered Georgia voters having had their say forward of time, the method of counting and tallying the state’s ballots will seemingly take extra time than many would suppose—elevating the distinct chance that we received’t have winners declared by Wednesday morning, if not later.

Whereas some states enable mail-in ballots to be counted forward of Election Day, Georgia’s legal guidelines prohibit the counting and tabulating of these ballots earlier than polls shut tonight. Ballot staff have, nonetheless, been allowed to start processing the ballots—scanning, verifying, and making ready them for tabulation—prematurely of Jan. 5.

That signifies that the lengthy and gradual course of of truly tallying hundreds of thousands of votes received’t start till this night, and will stretch on nicely into Wednesday earlier than we now have a transparent image of how every race is shaping up—not to mention who’s primed to win.

As soon as the counting begins, Republicans are anticipated to see an early benefit, for the reason that extra rural and conservative areas of the state typically report their outcomes sooner than the extra metropolitan, liberal-leaning areas like Atlanta and Savannah and their surrounding suburbs. What’s extra, votes forged in individual—which have skewed closely Republican on this pandemic-blighted election season—are normally counted earlier than absentee and mail-in ballots, which pattern significantly extra in Democrats’ favor.

However ultimately, how shortly the winners are declared will rely very a lot on how shut every race finally ends up being. And since both contests seem separated by exceptionally skinny margins, it may realistically take days earlier than we all know for certain—as evidenced by the presidential election, when it took 10 days for Joe Biden to finally be declared the winner of the state by round 12,000 votes. And even then, razor-thin margins like that one would additional delay issues, since it could activate Georgia election guidelines mandating an automatic recount if the margin of victory is lower than 0.5%.

So if you must rise up early for work on Wednesday, it’s in all probability finest to not keep up late ready for the outcomes of the runoffs to be introduced. Chances are high, we in all probability received’t have clear-cut winners by the point you get up.

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