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Early voting to begin Dec. 14 for Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs
Some local arrangements await end of Trump-requested second recount
Senate comp
From left, Sen. David A. Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, and Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger the Rev. Raphael Warnock

The voter registration deadline is Dec. 7 for Georgia residents not already registered, or who need to update their signature or address, for the state's unique and potentially historic Jan. 5 runoff.

In-person early voting will begin Dec. 14, but details of Bulloch County's schedule remain to be announced.

Meanwhile, voters who want a mailed-out absentee ballot may request one now and should do it soon.

Only voters on the "rollover" list — meaning those who are over age 65 or disabled and previously checked a box on their application to get an absentee ballot for every election this cycle — will automatically be mailed a ballot. But voters who do not qualify for that list or who only requested a ballot for the Nov. 3 general election will not automatically receive one for the runoff.

"If a voter is on the rollover list, they will automatically be getting a ballot," Bulloch County Election Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones replied in an email Monday. "All others will need to apply. They need to apply ASAP — yes, now."

Military personnel and other U.S. citizens residing outside the country also can be placed on the rollover list, but Georgia now sends them digital ballots.

My voter page

Registered Georgia voters can complete an online absentee ballot request at, or print out a request form at and submit it to the county elections office. In Bulloch County, the address is Board of Elections; 113 North Main Street, Suite 201; Statesboro, GA 30458. The office's fax number is (912) 764-8167. Its emails are and

Of course, absentee ballot request forms are also available at the elections office.

Georgia residents can register to vote or check their registration status and see a sample ballot at the statewide My Voter Page, It also provides a way to check the status of an absentee ballot request or of the ballot itself when one is received, completed and returned.

Deciding the Senate

Contests between Republican incumbent Sen. David A. Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff and between Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger the Rev. Raphael Warnock give Georgians a deciding role in which party will hold the majority of seats in the U.S. Senate.

Also, voters will decide a runoff for a Georgia Public Service Commission seat between Republican incumbent Lauren "Bubba" McDonald Jr. and Democratic challenger Daniel Blackman.

Only a few states require a runoff to obtain a majority decision in a congressional race, and aspects of the timing are governed by state and federal law. Not only is Jan. 5 of the next year an unusual date for an election runoff, it also makes Georgia's usual three-week in-person early voting period, theoretically Dec. 14-Jan. 1, run right through Christmas and  New Year's.

Of course, the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration will observe holidays Dec.  24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, so those will not be available for early voting.

But what hours the elections office in the County Annex might be open Dec. 31 for early voting remains to be decided, Jones said. Also awaiting a local decision is whether there will be any Saturday voting — it's not required in a runoff for federal and state offices — and whether there will be any added locations.

"Saturday voting is not mandated, but we are looking at the possibility of doing one — if people will give us time — we cannot prepare for Jan. 5 before dealing with Nov. 3," Jones emailed Monday.

Second recount

This week elections officials and poll workers throughout Georgia had to undertake the machine-scanned recount requested by President Donald Trump, who trailed President-elect Joe Biden by 0.25% of Georgia's total vote count.

Last week, all 159 of Georgia's counties completed a hand recount of the presidential contest. But Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had ordered that recount under a state law requiring an audit of the voting system.

After Raffensperger certified those results, Trump requested a recount under a different law that requires one if requested by a candidate who trails the apparent winner by less than 0.5%.

Bulloch County's election crew began the machine recount work Tuesday, with plans for another session Wednesday. The work would resume Monday, if needed, Jones said. The deadline to complete the recount is midnight Wednesday, Dec. 2.

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