Georgia: What to expect on election night

Dec 2, 2022, 10:37 AM | Updated: 11:13 am

A fiercely competitive Senate runoff in Georgia has national implications as Democrats try to solidify their hold on the upper chamber of Congress. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is trying to win a full Senate term against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Warnock got over 37,000 more votes than Walker in the Nov. 8 election, out of nearly 4 million votes counted. However, Warnock fell just shy of a majority, requiring Tuesday’s runoff.

Warnock was first elected to the Senate in a runoff special election in January 2021 — two months after the 2020 general election. Unlike in 2020, this year’s Georgia runoff won’t decide which party controls the Senate. Democrats already have a 50-49 seat edge, giving them control of the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris able to break any ties.

Another big change from 2020 is the compressed schedule, with this year’s runoff election coming just four weeks after the general election thanks to Georgia’s new election law. In 2020, the runoff was two months after the general election.

Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:


Polls close at 7 p.m. ET.


Voters in Georgia can cast a ballot one of three ways: by mail, in person during early voting and in person on Election Day. Mail ballots can be requested by any registered voter in Georgia without needing to provide an excuse. Completed domestic ballots must arrive at county election offices by Election Day to be counted. Early in-person voting runs through Friday.

The state Supreme Court allowed counties to hold early voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, rejecting arguments from the state and Republican groups that Georgia election law does not allow early in-person voting on a Saturday if the Thursday or Friday preceding it is a holiday.

The court agreed with Warnock’s campaign and Democratic groups who said that the prohibition applies only to primaries and general elections, not runoff elections.


The AP does not make projections and will only declare a winner when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap.

Should a candidate declare victory or offer a concession before the AP calls a race, we will cover newsworthy developments in our reporting. In doing so, we will make clear that AP has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

The AP may call a race in which the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5% or less, if we determine the lead is too large for a recount to change the outcome. In Georgia, a candidate can request a recount if the margin is 0.5% or less.


A: Warnock finished with 49.4% of the vote in the Nov. 8 election, compared to 48.5% for Walker. Warnock beat Walker by 10 percentage points among votes cast before Election Day, both by mail and in person. Walker won the Election Day vote by 15 percentage points, but only 36% of voters cast their ballots on Nov. 8.

The share of voters casting ballots before Election Day is almost certain to be smaller in the runoff because of the new law shortening the time between the general election and the runoff.


A: Georgia Republicans pushed through a sweeping new voting law in 2021 that has made it harder to vote by absentee ballot, leading Democrats to push people to vote early at polling places instead. The state also rolled back its pandemic-inspired drop boxes, limiting counties to a smaller number and requiring them to be available only inside buildings during business hours.

The state has also reduced the use of provisional ballots for people who show up to vote at the wrong polling place and has reinforced the ability to challenge voter qualifications.


A: Georgia has more than 7.8 million registered voters. As of Dec. 2, more than 1.4 million people had cast early votes by mail or in person, far below the 2.3 million people who had voted as of six days before the Nov. 8 election.


A: For the Nov. 8 general election, Georgia counted 99% of votes by 2 a.m. the day after the election. Almost all votes were counted by noon on Wednesday.


A: Democratic votes are concentrated in the state’s main urban areas, especially in and around Atlanta. Those counties are also the state’s most populous, and vote counting typically takes longer than in smaller rural districts throughout the state that are dominated by Republicans.

In the Nov. 8 election, many counties released the results of advance votes first, giving Warnock an early 14-point lead. As more Election Day votes were counted in the state’s rural areas, Warnock’s lead evaporated and Walker took a 1-point lead around 10 p.m. ET. Warnock regained the lead a few hours later as more votes from in and around Atlanta were counted.


Here’s more on the campaigns in Georgia:

— Obama urges Georgia Democrats to push turnout for Warnock

— Ga. Senate runoff between Warnock, Walker has bitter closing

— Doubts about candidates tipped the scales in tightest races


Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Lead water pipes pulled from underneath the street are seen in Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Pho...

Associated Press

Biden to require cities to replace harmful lead pipes within 10 years

The Biden administration has previously said it wants all of the nation's roughly 9 million lead pipes to be removed, and rapidly.

4 days ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

4 days ago

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

9 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

12 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

12 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Georgia: What to expect on election night