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More than 4.4 million people cast ballots in Georgia's runoffs

More than 4.4 million people cast ballots in Georgia's runoffs
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More than 4 million people participated in Tuesday's runoff elections in Georgia, shattering historical records for runoff participation and indicating the sheer scale of attention surrounding the elections that will determine the control of the Senate for at least the next two years.

A vote tally by The Associated Press as of Wednesday morning had indicated that just over 4.4 million votes had been counted, blowing past the state's vote totals for the 2016 presidential race and nearly rivaling the total participation levels of the November presidential election.

The runoff totals had surpassed previous runoff participation records even before Tuesday's in-person votes were counted, as more than 3 million chose to vote early in the Peach State. Early voting and mail-in ballots saw expanded participation in this cycle due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led officials to urge Americans to avoid crowded situations.

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The Rev. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Kemp faces uphill battle overcoming Trump's rage Senate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week MORE (D) was declared victorious early Wednesday morning over incumbent Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US MORE (R-Ga.), and Democratic challenger Jon OssoffJon OssoffThis week: Democrats move on DC statehood Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study MORE declared victory over Republican incumbent David PerdueDavid PerdueWarnock raises nearly M since January victory Georgia's top election official looks to shake political drama Lobbying world MORE on Wednesday as vote tallies showed him leading Perdue by around 16,000 votes, roughly 0.37 percent of the vote total, which would allow for Perdue to request a statewide recount.

Warnock's victory coupled with Ossoff's potential win would lead to a 50-50 deadlock in the upper chamber, but Democrats would have control due to Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate confirms Gupta nomination in tight vote Earth Day 2021: New directions for US climate policy rhetoric Biden says Chauvin verdict is step forward in fight against racial injustice MORE's (D) tie-breaking vote. Warnock will become the first Black senator from the state of Georgia, while an Ossoff victory would mean that he would become the youngest current member of the Senate.

Experts had previously expected Tuesday's vote totals to surpass previous runoff totals while speculating that President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE's recent unproven claims of fraud and corruption surrounding Georgia's election system due to his own defeat in the state could possibly suppress turnout among Republicans.