The Latest: Perdue, Ossoff head to Georgia US Senate runoff

November 7, 2020 GMT
at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the election in Georgia:

10 p.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will face off in a Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia for Perdue’s Senate seat.

Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel was able to get enough votes so that neither Perdue or Ossoff was able to clear the 50% threshold needed for an outright win.

Thousands of absentee ballots and in-person votes cast early needed to be counted after Election Night passed, forcing a long and tense wait before the race could be called.

The contest has already seen huge spending from outside groups on both sides and millions of dollars more are expected to pour into the state ahead of the runoff.

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The race between Ossoff and Perdue, a close ally of President Donald Trump, has been characterized by sharp attack ads but relatively moderate political positions.

Both candidates pivoted to the middle vying for a state Trump won handily four years ago, but where swaths of suburbia have shown signs of disillusionment with the president.

Perdue sought to cast Ossoff as backing a “radical socialist agenda,” while Ossoff portrayed Perdue as a “corrupt” Washington insider who has been part of a botched pandemic response.

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6 p.m.

Georgia elections officials say more than 14,200 provisional ballots still need to be counted statewide.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement that numerous counties were continuing to process provisional and military overseas ballots Friday.

Officials in Fulton County, the state’s largest county, said 3,812 provisional ballots remaining there were on track to be completed and uploaded Friday night.

Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia expanded over the course of the day as counties processed absentee ballots.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ELECTION IN GEORGIA:

Joe Biden took took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia on Friday as counting continued with about 5 million votes cast in the state.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia because the race between the Republican president and the Democratic nominee remains too early to call.

Read more:

EXPLAINER: Why the AP hasn’t called Georgia’s close race

— Twin Senate runoffs in Georgia could shape Biden presidency

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

2 p.m.

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has flipped a suburban Atlanta congressional district, defeating Republican Rich McCormick.

Counting of absentee ballots and in-person votes cast early continued long past election night, forcing a tense wait before the race could be called.

Bourdeaux had come close to winning in 2018, falling fewer than 500 votes short of defeating Republican incumbent Rob Woodall in that race.

Woodall didn’t seek another term in the district northeast of Atlanta.

Bourdeaux is a college professor who previously worked in government. She emphasized expanded health care in her campaign and used the momentum she built two years ago to push past McCormick, an emergency room physician and Marine veteran making his first-ever bid for office.

It’s the first time a Democrat has won the seat since Buddy Darden lost to Republican Bob Barr in the 1994 GOP takeover of the U.S. House, and reflects the rapidly diversifying population of the district.

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1:45 p.m.

With a recount looking likely in the presidential race in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system, explained how it would work during a news conference Friday.

Election officials in each county will create a test deck of fake ballots and count them by hand. Then they will use a high-speed scanner at their central election office to scan those same ballots. If the tallies match and it is determined that the scanner is working accurately, all of the ballots cast in the election will be rescanned for the recount.

This would be the first statewide recount using the new machines that are part of the voting system the state bought last year from Dominion Voting Systems for more than $100 million.

Research by The Associated Press shows that there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000. Of those, only three changed the outcome of the election. The initial margins in those races were all under 300 votes.

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1 p.m.

Both Democrats and Republicans are trying to find every last person whose votes couldn’t be counted in Georgia, where the presidential contest could come down to a few hundred votes out of 5 million cast.

Some absentee ballots were missing signatures. Some people did not have an ID at the polls. Some need to prove they’re properly registered. All must correct their ballots by 5 p.m. Friday.

Thanks to a lawsuit, counties now have to contact voters so these ballots can be fixed. The parties also have these lists and are reaching out. The Associated Press went along with door-knockers in suburban Atlanta’s Gwinnett County.

They found one voter’s father, who promised to call her at college. At another house, they found the friend of a voter who failed to sign her ballot. They got her on the phone and cheered when they promised to get it done, going to county headquarters to sign it by no later than 5 p.m.

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Noon

A top Georgia elections official says they are “not seeing widespread irregularities” as the vote counting continues.

Gabriel Sterling says the process is public and transparent, with many safeguards and backed up with “paperwork on top of paperwork in many cases.”

Sterling acknowledges that he’s a Republican, as is Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and says “we have people who have partisan beliefs” involved in the counting. But he says it’s the job of thousands of election workers across Georgia to “follow the law and assure that every legal vote is counted and the will and intent of the voters is met.”

Sterling says that if you look on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll think there’s millions of problems across the country. He’s urging anyone with a credible complaint and some kind of evidence to call the Secretary of State’s office. He says investigating credible complaints “is how we’re going to build back faith in the system, that the outcome of the election is correct.”

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11:30 a.m.

Joe Biden’s narrow lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia expanded Friday morning as vote counting continued, with about 1,500 votes separating the candidates after five million ballots were cast in the state.

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia because the race between the Republican president and the Democratic nominee remains too early to call.

The Secretary of State’s office said several thousand absentee ballots were still being counted Friday. Also, 8,900 unreturned ballots sent to military and overseas voters could be counted if received by 5 p.m. Friday. Counties also have provisional ballots to review and possibly add to their totals, along with absentee ballots that need to be “cured” by voters by day’s end.

There are still “an unknowable amount of ballots” that could be counted, said Gabriel Sterling, who has overseen the implementation of Georgia’s new electronic voting system. He said counties have been working diligently to finish tabulating their results, and he emphasized his confidence in the legitimacy of the process. Any evidence-backed complaint will be investigated, he added.

“When you have a narrow margin, little, small things can make a difference. So everything’s going to have to be investigated to protect the integrity of the vote,” he said.

10:20 a.m.

Several thousand ballots remain to be counted in Gwinnett County, a Democrat-leaning county in metro Atlanta.

County spokesman Joe Sorenson tells The Associated Press that these include roughly 4,400 absentee ballots, an estimated 1,000 ballots mailed from overseas by members of the military and nearly 1,000 provisional ballots.

Voters whose ballots were put in the provisional pile when they voted in person because of some issue at the polls must resolve the problem Friday to have their vote counted.

9:15 a.m.

Georgia’s top elections official says fewer than 8,200 absentee ballots remain to be tallied as the counting continues.

The largest batch of these are in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County, with about 4,800 still to count. About 8,900 unreturned ballots that were sent to military and citizens overseas could be tallied as well if they arrive by 5 p.m. on Friday.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s statement says strong security protocols are making sure that “the voice of every eligible voter is heard.” He says “It’s important to act quickly, but it’s more important to get it right.”

8:30 a.m.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is celebrating the way Democrat Joe Biden overtook President Donald Trump in Georgia as vote counting continues.

Biden took the lead when results were updated early Friday by Clayton County. That’s partly in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, long held by Democrat Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader who died in July.

Jackson says that result is due to decades of civil rights activism in Georgia, from Dr. Martin Luther King to Stacey Abrams, who worked hard to register new voters after her run for governor.

Jackson says the fact that the 5th District put Biden ahead in the vote count shows that King and Lewis “speak from their graves today. The heavenly hosts rejoice.”

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4:40 a.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia.

By Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump in the number of ballots counted in the battleground, a must-win state for Trump that has long been a Republican stronghold. Biden now has a 917-vote advantage.

The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Thousands of ballots are still left to be counted — many in counties where the former vice president was in the lead.

An AP analysis showed that Biden’s vote margins grew as counties processed mail ballots cast in his favor.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2020