The Reason for the Run-Off Election
In 2019, a Georgia Senator resigned before his term was up. The Governor of Georgia then appointed Kelly Loeffler to the position. Because she was appointed, not elected, she could only serve until the next election.
At that time, there was a “special election” when several people ran against her including Reverend Warnock, as a democrat. In order to win her seat, she needed to get over 50% of the vote. She didn’t, so the top two candidates held local elections between them.
The other state Senator, David Purdue, was up for reelection. His opponent was Jon Ossoff. In the regular election, David Purdue won more of the vote but not enough to be declared the winner, so they also had to participate in a runoff election.
Loeffler and Purdue are Trump Supporters
Both Loeffler and Purdue have given money to Trump’s campaigns, and Trump has also campaigned for them. Both said they would vote against certifying the vote counts for President-Elect Biden. It’s very unusual for an incumbent (that means one who is in office) to lose re-election, even more so because Georgia has never voted for a black or Jewish senator before now.
What Happened During Georgia Elections
During the 2020 elections, Georgia turned blue (the political party colors are said to be blue for Democratic-party and red for Republican-party) and voted for President-Elect Biden.
This made people worry that maybe Loeffler and Purdue wouldn’t have such an easy time of it. As a result, Trump and his henchmen (such as Roger Stone) started campaigning heavily for Loeffler and Purdue, and more people became uncomfortable with re-electing them.
Why Georgia Turned Blue
Georgia has been hit hard by COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Many scientifically minded people were angry that Trump has made it difficult for the CDC to get the nation the help it needed.
Then, republicans started to say that the election was rigged and the votes were fraudulent. They actually told other republicans in Georgia to NOT go out and vote. They wanted to elect these Republican senators, without voting for them. That’s not how that works in this country.
Moreover, Purdue and Loeffler both made money from stocks that they bought and sold after being briefed on COVID protocols. That seems suspicious. On the other hand, Warnock and Ossoff both had platforms that embraced science and helping everyday people.
It was clear that people had more trust in Warnock and Ossoff. For example, Loeffler owns a basketball team in Atlanta. But the entire team came out with shirts for Reverend Warnock and said they would vote for him.
How Republicans and Democrats Vote
The tide was turning, but it wasn’t without worry. In order to win and not have a recount, the candidates elected had to get more than a 0.5% lead.
Traditionally, Democrats vote in the early election and by mail. But the problems with the post office and mail delivery this season has been a cause of concern. There are votes that won’t be counted ever because they arrived after the deadline of January 8, 2021.
On the other hand, Republicans typically vote at the polling stations on the day of the election.
How Votes are Counted in Georgia
In Georgia, mail-in ballots aren’t counted first. They count the votes cast on the election-day itself before that of early voting and mail-in votes are counted.
That’s why many Trump supporters claim that the election was fraudulent. Since Republicans prefer to vote at the polls while Democrats opt to send in their ballot and vote by mail, the results of the election will have a significant change from Republican to Democrat once the absentee votes are counted.
Who Won the Georgia Elections
Warnock clearly won and by enough of a margin that Loeffler conceded on Wednesday. Purdue finally conceded on Friday, January 8th.
Neither Senator Warnock nor Ossoff will be sworn in yet. The counties have until January 15th to certify their vote. After that, the Secretary of State has until January 22nd to certify them to the Governor. Once that’s done (which could happen before those dates), they will be sworn in.
This means that Loeffler will continue to act as a Senator until Warnock is sworn in. On the other hand, Purdue is no longer a Senator because his term expired on January 3rd.
How It Affects the Future of US Immigration
It’s important to know the facts and understand why people might say the elections were fraudulent, even though they weren’t.
The results of elections in Georgia mean that the Senate will have 48 Democrats, two Independents (who vote with the Democrat caucus), and 50 Republicans. Since Vice President Kamala Harris is the deciding vote whenever there is a tie, Republicans are no longer considered the majority party.
Mitch McConnell will not be the majority leader. Mitch McConnell has blocked bill after bill from even being considered by the Senate to vote on. It is much more likely that immigration changes will now happen because of this vote in Georgia.
What It Means For Your Immigration Journey
Many of you will want to know what we think will happen with amnesty and DACA or DREAMers given the result of state elections. Right now, none of us know.
We know President-Elect Biden has said he wants to do something about those without a legal status, including DREAMers.
We also know that there is still a lot of animosity from Republicans who supported Trump. Will they be willing to put that aside and help this country heal? Will Biden be able to focus on immigration with so many people dying from COVID and the impact it is having on the economy?
We hope so, but only time will tell. However, you can be sure that when we learn about it, we’ll let you know. If you’re in need of legal help in your immigration journey, call Andres Mejer Law today to schedule a free consultation with us.