Georgia Senate Runoffs Shatter Record With Over 2.56 Million Early Votes Cast

Georgia's Senate runoff elections for two seats have already seen more than 2.56 million early voters, breaking the previous record for the number of voters in a runoff in the state.

The crucial elections will decide control of the U.S. Senate. High-profile politicians are expected to stump in Georgia on behalf of their party's candidates before the election. President Donald Trump is slated to appear at a campaign event in Valdosta, Georgia on Monday for incumbent Republican Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. On the same day, President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to appear in Atlanta at a rally for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

According to the U.S. Election Project, early voters have cast 2,566,332 ballots in the Senate election as of December 30. The previous record vote for a run-off Senate election in Georgia was 2,137,956 ballots, set in the 2008 election between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.

Biden previously visited Georgia on behalf of Ossoff and Warnock in December, telling a campaign event crowd that it was critical for the Democrats to get elected. "We can get so much done," Biden said, "so much that can make the lives of the people of Georgia and the whole country so much better. And we need senators who are willing to do it, for God's sake."

jon ossoff candidate in georgia senate election
Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is expected to face off against Republican Senator David Perdue in a special January election that has already garnered more than 2.5 million early votes. Paras Griffin/Getty

Both Ossoff and Warnock need to win the January elections for Democrats to gain control of the Senate. A Democrat sweep in Georgia would evenly divide the Senate between Republicans and Democrats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would then cast the tie-breaking vote. Republicans only need to win one Senate seat to retain a Senate majority.

Trump has been critical of Georgia's election process, baselessly claiming that widespread voter fraud helped Biden to win the state. While appearing on behalf of Loeffler and Perdue at a December rally, Trump warned attendees that Democrats were also attempting to manipulate the Senate election.

"And now [Democrats are] trying to steal these two important Senate seats from Georgia," Trump said. "These seats are the last line of defense to save America and protect all that we have accomplished. And we've accomplished things that no other president has accomplished, no other administration."

Polling averages from FiveThirtyEight indicate that Tuesday's election could be a close one.

As of December 30, Ossoff was one point ahead of Perdue. Ossoff garnered 48.5 percent of support to the incumbent's 47.5 percent. The gap was wider in the race between Warnock and Loeffler. The Republican held 47.3 percent in the averaged polls, but Warnock was ahead of Loeffler by 1.9 percent.

Loeffler has attempted to paint Warnock as a "radical" and warned voters that both Warnock and Ossoff could imbue the U.S. Senate with socialist ideologies.

"If we don't hold the line here in Georgia," Loeffler told Fox News on Tuesday, "we won't just lose two Senate seats. We can lose the country to socialism."

Newsweek reached out to the Georgia GOP and the Democratic Party of Georgia for comment.