There will be a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. [Now, there's a shock!]
Early voting for the December 2 runoff will start as early as Monday (November 17) in some counties and no later than Wednesday (November 19) according to Secretary of State Karen Handel's press release yesterday.
One other interesting fact about the rules behind the runoff system in Georgia is that when the 50% plus one vote threshold was reapplied to statewide races in 2005, the interim period between the general election and the runoff election was expanded from three weeks to four weeks. I suspect that is due in large part to the potential for overlap with the Thanksgiving holiday, but I can't verify that. One thing is for sure, the advance voting week will fall during Thanksgiving week and has been condensed from five days to just three as a result.
What's the difference between early and advance voting, you ask? Well, in Georgia it seems to boil down to a matter of the number of voting locations. Early voting is confined to one location per county but over an extended period of time (September 22-October 31 for the November 4 election), whereas advance voting has a greater number of polling places in the larger counties during just the business week (Monday -Friday) prior to the election.
Some of Jim Martin's success in the general election was dependent upon early and advance voting and that was driven in large part by the efforts of the Obama campaign to get out the (early) vote in Georgia. We have talked about Obama as a wildcard in this runoff race, but whether he appears in Georgia between now and December 2 -- John McCain and Mike Huckabee have already lined up stops to campaign for Chambliss -- may not matter as much as the remnants of the Obama campaign's infrastructure in Georgia (and from workers pouring into the state from other locales) banking those early votes for Martin as they did for Obama prior to November 4.
Question for the comments section: What impact might that extra week between elections have on the outcome? I can see it going both ways: the enthusiasm behind Martin dies down or another unintended consequence of the GOP-driven law change -- more time for Martin to mobilize -- coming back to haunt them. Thoughts?
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