Georgia will hold a run-off election—giving soon-to-be 18-year-olds a chance to participate

Family and supporters hold runoff signs as Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks during an Election Night event on November 3, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock is running in a special election against a crowded field, including U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace Johnny Isakson at the end of last year. Georgia is the only state with two Senate seats on the November 3 ballot.
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The state of Georgia will hold a run-off election for at least one Senate seat on January 5, 2021 thanks to the state's majority-vote requirement, which means a candidate must secure at least 50% of the vote in order to win the election and if no candidate wins an outright majority, a runoff election is held.

And a run-off election also means that Georgia residents who are currently 17 years old — but will turn 18 by the time of the run-off election — will have the opportunity to participate. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden currently leads President Donald Trump in Georgia by a small margin and NBC News exit polling suggests that young voters were among the Democrat's strongest supporters in the state. 

Kelly Loeffler, Raphael Warnock, Doug Collins, candidates for Georgia Senate
Reuters; Getty Images

Georgia may hold multiple run-off elections in January. 

The first is between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to her position by Governor Brian Kemp in December 2019 to replace Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired early, and Democrat Raphael Warnock. 

NBC News reports that in a three-way race, Warnock earned 32.9% of the vote while Loeffler earned 26%, edging out fellow Republican Doug Collins and guaranteeing a run-off.

Loeffler, the wealthiest member of Congress, came under scrutiny this spring after it was revealed that she and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold up to $3.1 million worth of equities after Loeffler received a private, senators-only briefing about the spread of the coronavirus and right before a massive market drop in reaction to the pandemic. In March, Loeffler said that the stock sales were made by third-party advisors without the input or knowledge of either her or Sprecher.

GOP strategists tell CNBC that Republicans are expected to spend at least $100 million to support Loeffler. 

David Perdue and Jon Ossoff, candidates for U.S. Senate in Georgia.
Reuters; Getty Images

Young voters may also have the chance to weigh in on the race between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, who has previously said that young voters would be key to turning the state blue.

NBC News indicates that this race is currently too close to call, with Perdue holding 49.8% of votes and Ossoff holding 47.8%. A run-off has not been called yet but both Democrats and Republicans appear to believe it is likely.

"David Perdue won this race in regular time and will do the same in overtime," Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of The National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a statement.

"Georgia is clearly now a purple battleground state, and Senator Perdue is a weak, scandal-plagued incumbent who can't defend his record of outsourcing and corruption," said Scott Fairchild, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "We're ready to help Jon flip this Senate seat."

Ultimately, these two races could determine which political party controls the Senate.

"We're as anxious as anyone to see the final results and to start work on certification and planning for our runoff elections," Georgia's secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger has said in a statement. "As the work goes on, I want to assure Georgia voters that every legal vote was cast and accurately counted."

In Georgia, the voter registration deadline for federal run-off elections is December 7, and eligible residents can find out more about registering to vote here.

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