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When will the new Georgia senators be sworn in? What to know after Democratic victories

The Georgia Senate election runoffs are over. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are the projected victors. Here’s what happens next.

When will the new Georgia senators be sworn in? What to know after Democratic victories
Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta. [Photo: DXR/Wikimedia Commons]
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With the fate of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance, the entire country has been watching the nail-biting runoff races for Georgia’s two Senate seats.

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The races are over, and the two Democrats have edged out victories over the two Republicans, splitting the legislative body 50-50. That means the Dems will gain control of the Senate because in a half-and-half situation, the vice president breaks tie votes—in this case, incoming Democratic VP Kamala Harris.

But before congratulating winners Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff (who beat Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively), know that a few things have to happen before it’s a 100% done deal.

The first issue is administrative. As ABC News reports, the counties must certify their election results by Friday, January 15, although they won’t necessarily take that long. Georgia‘s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, then has until the following Friday, January 22, to certify the election results, although he’s free to complete the process anytime before then.

Runoff victors are usually sworn in shortly after certification, the Washington Post reports. Congress was already sworn in for the new session earlier this week.

Also potentially complicating things is that under Georgia law, a candidate may request a recount within two days of the results’ certification, if the margin is 0.5% or less. In addition, a candidate or the secretary of state may ask for a recount if there’s a suspected error or discrepancy. However, the New York Times reports that “Both Democrats now lead their defeated Republican opponents by margins that are larger than the threshold required to trigger a recount under Georgia law.”