*:Not([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]> *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-left: 0.5rem;}]]>Media signatureGeorgian official Gabriel Sterling urges voters to cast ballot *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>

The US state of Georgia goes to the polls to decide whether President-elect Joe Biden’s Democrats control the Senate.

Mr Biden’s party must win both the state’s runoff elections to gain full control of Congress and the power to advance its agenda.

Outgoing President Donald Trump’s Republican Party only needs to win one to keep the Senate.

Mr Biden said Georgians could shape the US for years to come.

Meanwhile, Trump told voters it was their “last chance to save the America” ​​they loved.

  • “I’ve never seen that energy in Georgia.”
  • Why are the Georgia elections so important?

Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue currently hold the two seats in the Georgian Senate. Mrs. Loeffler competes against Reverend Raphael Warnock and Mr. Perdue fights against Jon Ossoff.

None of the candidates reached the 50% required to finally win the November election, which forced Tuesday’s runoff under Georgia’s electoral rules. Voting started at 7:00 a.m. (12:00 p.m. GMT).

What’s at stake in Georgia?

The vote determines the balance of power in the Senate.

Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 seats. If both Democrats win on Tuesday, the Senate will be split evenly, giving new Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris the groundbreaking vote.

This would be vital to getting Mr Biden’s agenda through, including key issues such as health and environmental regulations – issues with strong Republican opposition.

Media signatureWhat can US President-elect Biden expect in 2021? Senior North American reporter Anthony Zurcher looks ahead

The Senate also has the power to approve or reject Mr. Biden’s candidates for cabinet and judicial posts.

If Mr Ossoff and Mr Warnock both win, the White House, Senate and House of Representatives will be brought under democratic control for the first time since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

How will the vote go?

The vote should last approximately 12 hours and end at 7:00 p.m. local time (midnight GMT), although anyone still voting is allowed to do so.

The Democrats are hoping for a large turnout and have benefited from the fact that more than three million Georgians have already cast their votes – nearly 40% of the state’s registered voters. An early vote was a major advantage for Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionSenators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are the candidates for the Republican Party

The Democrats will try to find supporters in large urban areas, particularly the suburbs of Atlanta. The problem of long lines of voters might be a bigger problem for them.

It is even more important for Republicans to get the voters out on this day, and they will look to the stronghold of Northern Georgia as well as rural areas and smaller towns.

In general, results come quickly, but when these races are close it can take days.

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionVoters in Tucker, Georgia on Tuesday

Mr Perdue almost won the first time against Mr Ossoff in November and just missed the required majority with 49.7%. The other seat had more candidates, with Mr Warnock recording 32.9% versus Mrs Loeffler’s 25.9%.

A Democrat hasn’t won a Senate race in Georgia in 20 years, but the party is strengthened by Mr Biden’s victory in the presidential election against Mr Trump there. Mr. Biden’s profit margin was approximately 12,000 votes out of five million votes cast.

How important is the black vote to the Democrats?

The black community in Georgia is more than twice the national proportion of America and makes up a third of the population.

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionRaphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff are the Democratic candidates

Across America, nine out of ten black voters supported Mr. Biden in the presidential election. This was found in a poll of more than 110,000 voters for the Associated Press.

Raphael Warnock is the senior pastor of the Atlanta Church where assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. grew up and preached.

If elected, the Baptist minister would be the first black person to represent the state in the US Senate and only the 11th black senator in American history.

What did Biden and Trump say?

Both took part in rallies on Monday evening.

Mr. Biden told Atlanta voters, “Georgia, the whole nation is looking at you.”

Flanked by Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, he said: “Unlike at any time in my career, one state – one state – can set the course not only for the four years, but also for the next generation.”

Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionMr Biden fought in Georgia and said, “The power is literally in your hands.”Media signatureTrump: If [Pence] won’t get through, I won’t like him that much “

In Dalton, President Trump told voters that the Georgia runoff was the “last line of defense” against the Democrats.

“The whole world is watching,” he said.

The president spent much of his speech reiterating claims he won the presidential election – and unfounded allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

Republican officials fear this could depress turnout in Tuesday’s vote, despite Mr Trump downplaying this and telling voters to “rave about”.

Joe Biden’s first big test

It’s a little over two weeks from Joe Biden’s inauguration, but the first real test of his presidency is Tuesday.

If the Democrats take the two seats and forge a 50:50 tie in the upper chamber, it is far from certain that Biden will be able to pass the sweeping environmental, health and economic laws he proposed during his success to adopt presidential campaign. The narrowness of the margin will ensure that all laws must be supported by centrists in his party like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and the two Senators from Arizona.

However, this will give the new president a fighting chance at legislative achievements – and make it a lot easier for him to appoint the administrative officials and federal judges of his choice.

If Republicans hold on, Democratic hopes will rest on the whims of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a handful of Republican moderates.

Is Trump Still Challenging the White House Elections?

Mr. Trump, who is due to step down on January 20, said at his rally in Georgia, “You are not taking this White House. We will fight like hell.”

He hinted that he wanted Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as Senate President, to reject Mr Biden’s victory when Congress meets on Wednesday to confirm the election results.

“If he doesn’t get through, I won’t like him that much,” he said.

Some Republicans, including Kelly Loeffler, have signaled that they will object to the result of the presidential election in the House and Senate, which requires debate and vote. Senator Ted Cruz, once a staunch critic of the president, is now his most important ally.

Media signatureSenator Ted Cruz on Donald Trump: Then and Now

But since other Republicans said they would not deny Mr Biden’s victory, the voices questioning him would not succeed.

In his speech, Mr Biden accused Mr Trump of “whining and complaining” about the election results instead of focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I don’t know why he still wants the job, he doesn’t want to do the work,” he said.

It was revealed over the weekend that Mr Trump had pressured Georgia’s top electoral officer, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to “find” votes that would undo his defeat in the state.

Mr Biden won 306 votes to Mr Trump’s 232 on the US Electoral College, confirming the US President. Mr Biden won at least seven million more votes than the President.

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