Election Day ends in Georgia with Democrats hopeful for US Senate control

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Election Day ended in Georgia with control of the U.S. Senate still hanging in the balance, but Democrats remained hopeful.

Results are still being tabulated for the pair of runoff races, with Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler facing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Warnock, a Savannah native declared his victory at midnight, though no major media outlet called the race.

Get a recap of the day below. Visit here to view results as they trickle in.

1:30 a.m.

Ossoff’s campaign manager says they “fully expect” the Democrat will win over Perdue.

“The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant,” Ellen Foster stated. “We look forward to seeing the process through in the coming hours and moving ahead so Jon can start fighting for all Georgians in the U.S. Senate.”

12:30 a.m.

Warnock has claimed his victory over Loeffler, though no major media outlets have called the race.

“We were told we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we proved that, with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible,” the Savannah native said.

Shortly before he delivered his remarks, Loeffler took the stage at a GOP watch party in Atlanta.

“We have a path to victory and we’re staying on it,” she said, adding, “This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election.”

Meanwhile, congratulations began trickling in for Warnock:

11:30 p.m.

Chatham County election officials say they will not finish tabulating results until Wednesday. News 3 is told there are 3,000 absentee ballots that were returned Tuesday that still need to be processed.

“Chatham County didn’t just stop. They completed the counting of everything they have in,” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, tweeted. “That includes Election Day, Advanced, & all of the absentees they had in. The last left will be the absentee by mail that came in today.”

Meanwhile, Sterling says the largest share of outstanding votes looks to be ballots cast early in DeKalb County.

11 p.m.

Local Democrats and Republicans are keeping a close eye on runoff returns, remaining optimistic their candidates will come out on top.

“We’ve done everything that we possibly could to try to get the vote out,” said Jeanne Seaver, a supporter of Perdue and Loeffler.

Following a press conference for Georgia Democrats, Mayor Van Johnson and State Sen. Lester Jackson said they feel confident in their candidates.

“If Pastor Warnock and Jon Ossoff win, obviously, I’m happy,” Johnson said. “I think it’s an opportunity to turn the page.”

Though Georgia flipped blue in the general election, local GOP supporters say they’re not giving up just yet.

9:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a long night for all the campaigns here,” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager said.

He listed several counties that have completed their count for the evening, including seven in the Coastal Empire: Bacon, Candler, Evans, Long, Screven, Toombs and Wayne. Larger counties, from DeKalb to Chatham, are still at work.

Sterling said the results so far are coming in as expected, with “big tranches” for Democrats and “lots of little tranches” for Republicans.

9 p.m.

Gov. Brian Kemp stopped by the GOP’s watch party in Atlanta to thank his fellow Republicans who have supported Perdue, Loeffler and McDonald.

The governor said it was an honor to have appointed Loeffler in December 2019 to fill the vacancy left by Johnny Isakson’s resignation.

“They’ve made a great team up in Washington over these last many months,” Kemp said of Loeffler and Perdue.

“I am grateful for how hard they have fought for our state, how hard they have fought to save our country and to be the red wall that stops socialism and all the many other things that we have talked about,” he added.

The governor ended his speech with touching words and a prayer for the family of Harrison Deal. The young Loeffler campaign staffer was headed to a Savannah rally for the senators last month when he was killed in a crash.

Deal also interned with Perdue and dated Kemp’s daughter Lucy.

8 p.m.

Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff (left) and Republican candidate for Senate Sen. David Perdue (right) are headed for a runoff after a tight race for Perdue’s Senate seat. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff stopped by a polling location in Atlanta just before polls closed to encourage voters to remain in line to cast a ballot.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but voters in line by that time are still able to vote.

Ossoff faces Republican David Perdue in Tuesday’s night election that will determine control of the U.S. Senate along with a race between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Kelly Loeffler.

Ossoff’s spokesperson says the candidate is watching results Tuesday night with his core team.

Perdue is under quarantine after being exposed to a campaign worker infected with the coronavirus.

via The Associated Press

7 p.m.

Most polls have closed in Georgia, but there have been orders to extend hours in Chatham, Columbia, Gwinett and Tift counties. The longest extension was seen in Ware County, with a deadline of 8 p.m.

Local election officials tell News 3 they’ve done everything they can to lessen the night’s workload. Staff at the Chatham County Board of Elections have been processing absentee ballots but tabulation couldn’t start until 7 p.m.

It will also be some time before precinct managers drop off in-person votes from the polls.

The election board chairman said it could take Chatham County until Wednesday to count depending on a final rush of absentee ballots being returned.

6 p.m.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass has ordered to extend voting hours at two polling locations.

The Old Courthouse will remain open until 7:33 p.m. and Beach High School’s deadline has been extended to 7:35 p.m.

The Chatham Chatham County Board of Elections and Democratic Party of Georgia made the request citing technical issues, the details of which were not immediately announced.

4 p.m.

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, said President Donald Trump’s complaint about some voting machines not working was resolved “hours ago.”

“The votes of everyone will be protected and counted,” Sterling tweeted. “Sorry you received old intel Mr. President.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earlier addressed the issue, explaining that a small number of keys that start up the scanners were incorrectly programmed, as well as a few poll worker cards.

Raffensperger said the correct keys and voter cards were delivered, resolving the issue by 10 a.m.

2:30 p.m.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says there are few issues and almost nonexistent wait times this Election Day. Wait times across the state are averaging just one minute, he said.

“After wait times averaging just 2 minutes on November 3rd, Georgia’s election administration is hitting a new milestone for effectiveness and efficiency,” Raffensperger stated. “I have always said that after every election, half the people will be happy and half will be disappointed, but everyone should be confident in the reliability of the results.”

Local election officials say because this is a runoff election, not as many people are expected to show up to the polls Tuesday, and many voted early.

“We’ve really had a great turnout for early voting as far as the runoff is concerned,” said John Leffler, Chatham County voting manager. “It is the highest percentage runoff that we’ve seen in decades.”

12:30 p.m.

All eyes are on Georgia.

The results of Tuesday’s runoff election will have huge implications on President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to pass his legislative agenda on matters such as the pandemic, health care, taxation, energy and the environment.

WSAV NOW’s Jon Dowding spoke with our sister station WCMH in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss the what’s at stake.

7 a.m.

Georgia voters have begun casting their ballots to determine which party will control the U.S. Senate.

Polls for the runoffs opened statewide at 7 a.m. Tuesday and are scheduled to close at 7 p.m.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock need to win both races for a 50-50 Senate. That would allow Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to tilt the chamber to Democrats with the tiebreaking vote.

Ossoff is facing David Perdue, while Warnock is challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and trying to become the state’s first Black senator.

More than 3 million Georgians have already voted either early in-person or via absentee ballots. That’s more than 60% of the nearly 5 million who voted in November’s presidential election.

via The Associated Press

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