New Voters Could Decide Senate Runoffs

Thousands, mostly young, have registered in time to affect Georgia's January election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2020 5:40 PM CST
In Time for Runoffs: Thousands of New Voters
Hamilton Dickey, 8, stands on his mom's car during a rally for Democratic Georgia Senate candidates the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Atlanta on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

There's a wild card in the Georgia Senate runoffs. The state has signed up almost 76,000 new voters who are eligible to vote Jan. 5 in the election that will pick two winners, deciding which party will control the Senate. No one knows how they might tip the races, because they have no voting record in Georgia. It's a young bloc, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, with 56% under 35. Margins of victory have been tight lately: President-elect Joe Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes, and Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, was elected by fewer than 55,000 votes in 2018. Polls have indicated that both Senate races are close. "Georgians learned on Nov. 3 that if they register and vote, that their vote has power," said a spokesman for Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had issued a warning to people in other states not to move to Georgia in time to vote in the runoffs unless they're going to live there. That's against state law, per the Journal-Constitution, as is voting without having established legal residency. The Republican said last month that groups were trying to get people from out of state to register in Georgia, per Reuters, and that he had ordered an examination of registration efforts by the groups America Votes, Vote Forward, and the New Georgia Project. The state now has 7.7 million registered voters; 5 million voted in the Nov. 3 election. (Republicans in the state fear President Trump's allegations will hurt turnout in the runoffs.)

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