All eyes are on Georgia as voters in the Peach State will determine the majority in the U.S. Senate on January 5. Republicans have 50 seats in the Senate, while Democrats have 48 (technically 46 with two Independents who caucus with them) and likely incoming Vice President Kamala Harris to get them to 51, should Democrats win both Georgia races. Turnout is usually low in runoff elections, but mail-in voting may change the game.
Stacey Abrams, who has blamed “voter suppression” for her loss in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race and has launched a campaign against “voter suppression,” announced a surge in absentee ballot applications that will likely give Democrats an edge.
“BREAKING: More than 750,000 Georgians have requested their ballots for the January 5 runoff elections,” Abrams announced on Twitter Monday. She encouraged Georgians to “request yours today and let’s get it done … again.”
Abrams included a link to the website to register for an absentee ballot along with a gif of her saying, “I’ve got a secret for you… we’re going to win.”
🚨BREAKING: More than 750,000 Georgians have requested their ballots for the January 5 runoff elections. Have you? Request yours today and let’s get it done… again: https://t.co/xCyh7BhY3o. 🗳👏🏿 #gapol pic.twitter.com/q1xSybczXg
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 23, 2020
According to the latest count, Democrat Joe Biden won 2,474,507 votes to President Donald Trump’s 2,461,837 votes in Georgia, but turnout in runoff elections is usually far below turnout in a presidential election.
Lower turnout historically favors Republicans, but the surge in mail-in voting may combat the lower turnout to some extent.
Republicans cannot allow Democrats to win the Senate seats in Georgia. So long as the Republicans maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate, they can stop Biden’s most radical agenda items from becoming law, and they can force him to compromise on some administrative and judicial appointments.
As President Trump continues to litigate the election results (which is his right), he may unwittingly discourage Republicans from voting in the Georgia runoffs. If Republicans suspect that Democrats stole the 2020 election, they may be less likely to trust the system and turn out in large numbers to hold the Senate majority.
Recently, attorney Sidney Powell — formerly part of Trump’s legal team — accused Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) of colluding with Dominion Voting Systems in order to steal the election for Biden. This is dangerous nonsense, and it may hamper Republicans’ most effective effort to hamstring Biden, should Trump’s litigation efforts fail.
Whatever Georgia Republicans think about the 2020 election results, they must vote in the runoff elections in which Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) faces Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) faces Jon Ossoff. Abrams’ group Fair Fight has spent $2.7 million to boost Warnock and Ossoff.
Democrats are fighting hard to take the Senate so they can pass radical bills like the Green New Deal. Republicans cannot let it happen.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.