ATLANTA — Georgians went to the polls Tuesday to elect the state's two U.S. senators, a decision that will have profound implications for the next few years of American governance.
Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler faced Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock. In the early morning hours on Wednesday, The Associated Press projected Warnock the winner of the race, making the pastor the first Black senator elected in Georgia.
In the other runoff, incumbent David Perdue is trying to retain his seat against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. The race between the two is still too early to call.
These two races have captured the attention of the nation, for they will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
With at least one victory between Loeffler or Perdue, Republicans will maintain control of the upper chamber of Congress. If the two Democrats win, it will create a 50-50 split, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaking vote.
Voting generally appeared to function without many problems across much of the state, despite one notable issue in Columbia County that forced voters to use backup paper ballots for a short period of time early this morning, and which President Trump amplified on Twitter.
According to the Secretary of State's office, beyond that things ran smoothly and wait times were minimal around the state. The contentious atmosphere of the election has not abated, however, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirming that at least 10 counties have been impacted by Election Day threats.
11Alive updated things from around Atlanta, as Georgia works to decide the fate of the Senate. Here is what happened Tuesday and in the early morning hours on Wednesday.
(please note all times are Eastern)
3:16 a.m. | Ossoff now leads Perdue by more than 12,800 votes.
2:25 a.m. | Jon Ossoff is now leading David Perdue by more than 9,500 votes.
2:17 a.m. | David Perdue's campaign released a statement about the election. Read it below.
"As we've said repeatedly over the last several weeks and as recently as this evening, this is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard. We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted. We believe in the end, Senator Perdue will be victorious."
2:15 a.m. | DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Director Erica Hamilton said about 19,000 ballots will need to be manually scanned due to technical issues they encountered.
Read the statement below.
2:03 a.m. | The Associated Press has projected that Democrat Raphael Warnock has won the election for U.S. Senate from Georgia, beating incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Warnock becomes the first Black senator in his state’s history and putting the Senate majority within the Democrats’ reach.
Warnock, a pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. It’s a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who traveled to Georgia to rally for Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue. The focus now shifts to the second race between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. That contest was too early to call as votes were still being counted.
1:49 a.m. | NBC News is the first national news outlet to project Raphael Warnock as the winner of the U.S. Senate runoff.
The Associated Press has not called the race yet.
1:30 a.m. | Gabriel Sterling of the Secretary of State's Office is giving an update on where the election stands.
1:27 a.m. | Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign manager, Ellen Foster, released a statement about the election results. Read it below.
“When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate. The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant. 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.”
1:06 a.m. | Here's a breakdown of the votes outstanding in DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett.
1:05 a.m. | Ossoff has closed the gap with Perdue to just 919 votes. Votes are still being tallied.
12:40 a.m. | Gwinnett County will resume counting ballots at 8 a.m.
12:37 a.m. | Warnock said during his speech, his campaign proved that anything is possible. "I am going to the Senate," he said.
The Associated Press has not projected a winner yet.
12:33 a.m. | Warnock is expected to give a speech shortly. You can watch it above.
12:23 a.m. | Loeffler just ended her speech, saying she still sees a path to victory.
12:20 a.m. | Sen. Kelly Loeffler is speaking now.
12:15 a.m. | Rev. Raphael Warnock is expected to speak soon.
11:58 p.m. | Cobb County officials tell 11Alive they are dong for the night. "We will know tomorrow what is left to process," said Janine Eveler, director of
Cobb County Elections.
11:55 p.m. | DeKalb County election officials tell 11Alive they should be approaching the end of the day soon.
11:39 p.m. | The Secretary of State's Office is providing another update on the election. Gabriel Sterling said everyone should "be patient."
11:20 p.m. | Raphael Warnock has taken the lead over Kelly Loeffler 2,111,934 to 2,079,921 votes after DeKalb County pushed through a batch of counted ballots. Perdue still holds the lead over Jon Ossoff.
10:57 p.m. | Secretary Raffensperger said he expects unofficial results by noon tomorrow.
10:52 p.m. | Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to 11Alive about the election.
10:40 p.m. | Election officials believe a large group of votes from DeKalb County will be uploaded soon.
10:35 p.m.| 3.7M votes have been counted which is about 85% of the vote.
10:31 p.m. | Gwinnett County says the only votes that won't be counted tonight are the mailed in absentee ballots that arrived today.
10:03 p.m. | More than 50 percent of precincts are reporting results. Take a look at the numbers here.
9:39 p.m. | Gabriel Sterling of the Secretary of State's Office gave the list of counties that have finished election duties. Watch it below.
9:25 p.m. | The Secretary of State's Office is expected to give another election update soon.
9:06 p.m. | Here is a look at the numbers between Warnock and Loeffler.
9:05 p.m. | Here is a look at the latest numbers between Ossoff and Perdue.
8:34 p.m. | Gov. Brian Kemp gave a speech Tuesday evening. Listen to a portion of it below.
8:07 p.m. | Here is a look at the latest numbers.
7:50 p.m. | 11Alive speaks to political analysts Andra Gillespie and Mike Hassinger about the Senate runoff races. Hear what they had to say below.
7:20 p.m. | Election results are starting to come in for the runoff races. You can view them here.
7 p.m. | Georgia polls are now closed, with the exception of some locations in a few counties. When elections results start coming in, you can get the results here.
Watch live coverage below.
6:47 p.m. | Some Georgia polls will remain open past 7 p.m.
Gabriel Sterling, a top official with the Georgia secretary of state’s office, says one polling site in Tift County will stay open until 7:40 p.m., 40 minutes past the scheduled statewide closing time of 7 p.m. He says a location in Chatham County will stay open until 7:33 p.m. and a second location will stay open until 7:35 p.m.
6:15 p.m. | The Georgia Secretary of State's Office is holding another press conference this evening, just before polls close on Election Day. Watch the briefing below.
5:55 p.m. | The Associated Press is reporting that Georgia Public Broadcasting says its reporters have been denied access to the Georgia GOP’s election night watch party. Managers for the nonprofit television and radio network expressed their disappointment in the Georgia Republican Party’s decision.
5:15 p.m. | 11Alive has team coverage on the Senate runoff races as we are down to the final hours for voting. Here's the latest update.
4:35 p.m. | The Columbia County Board of Elections said two voting precincts had a slight delay when opening this morning. They will adjust the closing times at those locations.
- Precinct 065/Christ Sanctified Church, located at 136 N Belair Road, Evans, GA 30809 opened at 7:01am – resulting in it closing time of 7:01pm tonight.
- Precinct 034/Grove First Baptist Church, located at 108 W. Robinson Ave, Grovetown, GA 30813 opened at 7:04am – resulting in a closing time of 7:04pm.
Officials said any voters that vote during the extended time will have to vote a Provisional Ballot.
3:45 p.m. | A Cobb County polling location in Powder Springs has been ordered to stay open until 7:10 p.m. because it did not start voting until about 7:10 this morning after there was an issue getting the machines up and running on time.
The polling location is:
George E. Ford Center
4181 Atlanta Street
Powder Springs, GA
3:40 p.m. | According to Gabriel Sterling with the Secretary of State's office said the state is "standing here with a record turnout for a runoff."
So far, Sterling said a total of 3,093,376 votes have been cast. That includes 2,074,994 early votes and 1,018,382 absentee by mail ballots.
He also went through a few of the minor issues experienced at polling places across the state.
2:50 p.m. | 11Alive's Andy Pierrotti spoke to Jon Ossoff today:
2:35 p.m. | The Associated Press has confirmed that former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter will be unable to attend Joe Biden's inauguration, the first they'll have missed since Carter's own in 1977.
2:35 p.m. | Still minimal wait times being reported by the Secretary of State's Office. It's not yet clear if the consistent low wait times suggest turnout will not actually be all that high today.
Remember, 3 million people in Georgia had already voted before today.
2:25 p.m. | The Secretary of State's Office says it will be conducting a press conference to update things at 3:30 p.m.
2:15 p.m. | The GBI has confirmed to 11Alive that "10 counties were impacted" by Election Day threats, reported earlier by NBC's Blayne Alexander:
1:45 p.m. | President Trump tweeted about the issue that was reported earlier in Columbia County today. It involved a programming error with the security keys for poll workers, and was resolved early this morning.
The NBC affiliate in Augusta, WRDW, reported on this matter this morning.
1:00 p.m. | Still not much in the way of wait times around the state:
12:30 p.m. | The former mayor of Alpharetta, David Belle Isle, is serving as a poll watcher in DeKalb County and tweeted that he threatened to call police because he was being made to sit too far away.
Georgia Code 21-2-408 allows for poll watchers to be allowed into the "check-in area, the computer room, the duplication area, and such other areas as the superintendent may deem necessary to the assurance of fair and honest procedures in the tabulating center," but also notes "such poll watcher shall in no way interfere with the conduct of the election, and the poll manager may make reasonable regulations to avoid such interference."
There is no clearly outlined statute for exactly how close poll watchers must be permitted to observe from. 11Alive has reached out to DeKalb for a response.
12:15 p.m. | More from the Secretary of State's Office - in general it does not appear that we're seeing any big Election Day crush at the polls.
12:10 p.m. | Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office reports a "smooth election so far this morning across Georgia."
11:30 a.m. | 11Alive's Maura Sirianni has spoken with Spalding County's elections director, Marcia Ridley. She reports that the county, which saw some of the worst problems in the state on Nov. 3, has had no major issues, complaints or hold ups today.
The county says 1,500 people have voted today, and there were a little more than 11,000 early votes.
11:15 a.m. | Here's Joe Ripley with some Gwinnett County voters.
"This one sort of just hit me in the gut because I was kind of surprised by the outcome in November," one told him.
10:40 a.m. | 11Alive's Jerry Carnes is at a Jon Ossoff event in Fulton County:
10:30 a.m. | Regarding those objections, it's worth noting that Perdue's term has expired and he is technically no longer a senator. It's highly unlikely today's results are certified by the counting of electoral votes tomorrow, so his objection is (probably) purely symbolic.
Loeffler remains a senator because the term of Johnny Isakson, whom she was appointed to replace after his retirement, is unexpired.
10:10 a.m. | Here's some info on the issue in Columbia County (Augusta suburbs) that has people voting with paper ballots. From Augusta NBC affiliate WRDW:
A viewer told News 12 that an election official notified voters in line at 7 a.m. that technicians were working on the issue, and that it was occurring throughout the county. The viewer says they were told emergency ballots would need to be used and that voters were given instructions on how to fill them out.
10:00 a.m. | The president has posted a couple tweets about the races now, one lauding Loeffler and Perdue for joining other GOP senators who will object to the Electoral College vote count tomorrow, and a second urging people to vote for the incumbent Republicans.
9:50 a.m. | Here's a good refresher on when counting will start tonight, since many folks are understandably curious:
8:30 a.m. | Gabriel Sterling in the Georgia Secretary of State's Office also reports on an issue in Columbia County (Augusta suburbs):
8:30 a.m. | We've also just gotten a response on a small situation at a voting precinct in Gwinnett County. The county spokesman, Joe Sorenson, says the issue in Peachtree Corners "has been resolved now."
"Scanner wasn’t working. Technician was sent to the location," he said.
8:25 a.m. | We're monitoring for voting issues all around metro Atlanta. Coweta County did report a slight one, but says that now "everything seems to be working fine."
From Coweta County Elections Director Jane Scoggins:
"We had issues with the card readers on some poll pads. We tested the card reader before we sent them to the polls, but this morning some did not work. They have been replaced and everything seems to be working fine."
8:05 a.m. | Here's a look from 11Alive's Joe Ripley in Gwinnett County:
7:30 a.m. | 11Alive's News Director Jennifer Rigby shares this photo of a line in Smyrna:
7:05 a.m. | Here's how it looked at the C.T. Martin facility in west Atlanta when polls opened a few minutes ago.
7:00 a.m. | Polls have opened in Georgia.
6:55 a.m. | Polls open in five minutes! Here's Jerry Carnes' view in Fulton County:
6:30 a.m. | 11Alive's Christie Diez notes that in the early voting period, we saw about 3 million votes cast. That's about 60% of the total turnout we saw in November, when there were 5 million votes in Georgia.
6:00 a.m. | Welcome! We've made it to Election Day 2 in Georgia. Republican or Democrat, one thing we can all look forward to, at the least, is less election mail and texts/calls after today.
We'll be updating things with our team stationed around the metro area as the polls open in about an hour.