Over 1.1 million ballots cast in early voting for Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs

Over 1.1 million ballots cast in early voting for Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden arrives to address a drive-in campaign rally on behalf of Democratic U.S. Senate candidates from Georgia Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, ahead of their January 5 runoff elections, at Pullman Yard in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) –More than 1.1 million Georgians have voted in twin U.S. Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls that chamber of Congress, and with it the fate of much of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda, state data showed on Friday.

The surge in turnout after four days of early in-person voting, and about four weeks of mail-in voting, showed that voter participation in the two races is on pace to rival the records set in the November presidential contest in which Biden defeated Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

State data published on Friday showed the number of accepted ballots was just below the level seen at the same point in early voting for November’s election.

Voting in the Senate runoffs, which are taking place because no candidate won 50% support on Nov. 3, ends on Jan. 5.

Biden’s razor-thin victory in Georgia last month amid record-high turnout underscored the Southern state’s transformation from Republican stronghold to one of the country’s most competitive political battlegrounds.

A record 159 million people nationwide voted in November, up from 138 million in the November 2016 elections, according to data compiled by Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University …

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