Over 3 million votes cast in Georgia Senate runoffs days before election

ATLANTA — Over 3 million ballots have already been cast in the Georgia runoff race for two crucial Senate seats.

Of those, 2,072,948 ballots were cast in person and 928,050 mail-in ballots have been returned. Over 300,000 mail-in ballots are still outstanding.

Election day for the runoff is January 5th.

The tally breaks the record for votes cast in a Georgia runoff election. Around 2 million people voted in the 2008 runoff between incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss and his challengers.

So far in the 2020 runoff, total turnout is 18% lower than in the general election. About 1.2 million people who voted early in the general election have not yet voted in the runoff.

The three Georgia districts with the worst turnout for the runoff are heavily Republican. The best turnout was in two strongly Democratic counties, according to Channel 2 Political Analyst Bill Crane.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]

The outcome of the runoff between Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate and how lawmakers deal with a new White House.

Perdue and Loeffler are both on the ballot Tuesday in runoff elections because neither got enough votes Nov. 3 to win outright.

Georgia law requires candidates for Congress and state offices to win by getting more than 50% of the vote. Otherwise, races get forced into a runoff between the top two finishers.

Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have raised staggering sums as they try to capitalize on President-elect Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia over GOP President Donald Trump. Ossoff and Warnock are seeking to become the first Democrats to win a U.S. Senate election in Georgia since 2000.

GEORGIA VOTER GUIDE:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.