Deadline for Georgians to register to vote in Jan. 5 runoffs is Dec. 7

    Georgians have until Dec. 7 to register to vote for the Jan. 5 runoff for the U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. Runoffs could also take place between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff and for the state Public Service Commission. Wes Wolfe/Georgia Recorder

    Georgians who didn’t get signed up in time to cast ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election now have until Dec. 7 to register to vote in the Jan. 5 runoff for U.S. Senate, which figures to capture the attention of the nation.

    The outcome of the runoff between Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock and potentially Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff could determine whether the GOP maintains the Senate majority.

    Early voting for the runoffs starts Dec. 14 after a record of nearly 5 million Georgians voted in the general election. Qualified voters can register online with a valid ID through the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

    Georgia is the only state that had two Senate races on the ballot this election after Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down at the end of last year due to declining health.

    Loeffler, a businesswoman, and Warnock, the Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor, emerged Tuesday evening from a crowded field of candidates to face off in January.

    Meanwhile, Perdue, seeking a second term in office, saw his lead dip slightly below 50% as absentee ballots were counted after Election Day. Perdue received 2.45 million votes by Friday morning, or 49.8%, to Ossoff’s 2.35 million. State law calls for a runoff if no candidate captures more than 50% of the vote in an election.

    The Senate races might not be the only statewide runoffs in Georgia. Republican Public Service Commission incumbents Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and Jason Shaw both had slightly more than 50% of the votes by Friday morning with thousands of ballots still to be counted.

    If runoffs are called for the commission that regulates Georgia Power and other utilities, Shaw will face Democrat Robert Bryant while the veteran McDonald will face Democrat Daniel Blackman.

    Stanley Dunlap
    Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.