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Georgia runoff election results – live: Democrats leading in early voting results from knife-edge Senate race

Related video: Georgia election official debunks one Trump conspiracy theory after another

More than 3 million early votes have been cast in an elections expected to see record turnout for a runoff races.

Georgia Secretary of state Brad Raffensperger has said he does not expect final results to become clear until Wednesday morning, while the Loeffler campaign has found itself caught up in a late racism scandal over an attack ad that appeared on Facebook in which the skin colour of Reverend Warnock, who is Black, appeared to have been made artificially darker.

President-elect Joe Biden was campaigning for the Democrats on Monday evening, promising voters that their victories would mean a blue takeover of the Senate and thus the chance to upgrade Covid-19 relief cheques for Americans from the current $600 to $2,000, a move staunchly opposed by current Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. The president-elect also made an Election Day appeal on Georgia radio, telling voters that “so much is at stake.”

The president has meanwhile continued to amplify election fraud conspiracies as he pushes for GOP candidates, telling his followers that “emboldened Radical Left Democrats” have sought to steal “victory” from Republican voters.

Check out The Independent’s live coverage and analysis below.

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As expected, Democratic candidates get larger early vote turnout

Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have received a huge boost from early voting turnout, according to Georgia’s secretary of state. With less than 1 per cent of any election day precincts reporting statewide, they have an edge over their Republican counterparts, though the results from in-person voting are far from being counted.

Alex Woodward6 January 2021 00:38
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Alex Woodward6 January 2021 00:14
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Most polls have closed in Georgia. When will we know the results?

Most polls in Georgia have now closed, except for those still waiting in line, and a handful of precincts ordered to stay open for a little while longer.

Election officials were able to begin the process of tabulating early mail-in votes before polls closed. Those ballots are expected to lean heavily Democratic, potentially skewing early assessments of the outcomes. So the “race” begins of watching results waver throughout the night – the very basic process of counting that Trump has called “dumps” of fraudulent ballots.

Alex Woodward6 January 2021 00:10
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7 in 10 Republican voters in Georgia believe Trump’s false assertion that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected

Seven out of 10 Republican voters in Georgia do not believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected in te 2020 presidential races, according to a survey of more than 3,600 voters.

The AP VoteCast conducted during the runoff elections for two US Senate seats also found that six out of 10 voters overall believe control of the Senate, which is on the line with these races, is the single most important factor in casting their ballot.

Republican voters in the state “overwhelmingly lack confidence” that the 2020 vote count was accurate, compared to 84 per cent of Democratic voters.

Alex Woodward6 January 2021 00:04
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Alex Woodward5 January 2021 23:53
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‘So much is at stake’: Biden appeals to Georgia voters on election day

In an interview with WVEE-FM from Columbus, Georgia on Tuesday, president-elect Joe Biden declared “so much is at stake” in the senate runoffs, including the immediate relief from additional Covid-19 payments and vaccine rollouts.

A Democratically controlled Congress in tandem with his administration could potentially see an immediate passage of $2,000 direct payments.

He also suggested there could be “thousands of federally run and federally supported community vaccination centers of various sizes across the country” following Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility for the lagging vaccine distribution efforts, falling far-behind his 2020 promises.

Alex Woodward5 January 2021 23:40
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Low wait times, few issues: Election running smoothly across the state, officials say

Georgia Voting Systems Manager Gabriel Sterling – who has been under a national spotlight after repeatedly debunking Trump’s false election fraud and manipulation claims – says election day has been “sort of calm,” according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

We haven’t seen anything too over-the-top crazy, which is good. We want steady. We want to see that the people who want to cast their vote, that their votes are going to count.”

Polls are set to close at 7pm, but several will stay open later to make up for some briefly lost time after election workers sorted out some tech issues, which impacted .02 per cent of voting touch screens in the state.

Alex Woodward5 January 2021 23:20
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Alex Woodward5 January 2021 23:10
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Trump’s final election message? ‘Radical Left Democrats’ want to steal the election

The president has been watching TV, it seems:

That was also the message at his – potentially last-ever, as president – rally in Dalton, Georgia on Monday night, amplifying unfounded and verifiably untrue claims about election fraud and claiming, as he has been for years, that Democrats want to destroy the US.

Here’s Richard Hall’s look back at Trump’s last stand, from on the ground:

Alex Woodward5 January 2021 22:30
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Mystery shrouds abrupt departure of Trump-appointed US attorney in Georgia

On Monday, Byung J “BJay” Pak – US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia – announced his sudden departure from the office. On Tuesday, Donald Trump – who appointed him in 2017 – installed his interim replacement: Bobby Christine, the current US Attorney in the Southern District. He’ll hold both roles, for now.

The timing has felt… weird, to say the least. Pak’s departure came the day after The Washington Post released recordings from an hour-long call between the president and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, in which the president pressured him to “find” enough votes to overturn his loss.

The president also called a US attorney in the state, possibly Pak, a “never-Trumper” after he fumed about officials refusing to indulge his conspiracy-fuelled, likely criminal allegations.

In a brief statement confirming his departure, he said only that “it has been the greatest honor of my professional career” and that he has “done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner” while thanking the president and US Attorney General William Barr.

Alex Woodward5 January 2021 22:11