For Georgians, the Election is far from over

In+our+hands.+The+senate+runoff+election+on+the+5th+determines+who+will+control+our+Senate+for+the+next+4+years.+The+candidates+have+tirelessly+campaigned+after+the+general+election+in+order+to+win.+%22Paying+attention+to+other+elections%2C+like+this+runoff%2C+gives+us+more+autonomy+over+our+government+and+that%E2%80%99s+a+privilege+we+have+as+Americans%2C%22+says+senior+Luiza+Parodia.

Images used via parttimeportraits from Wikimedia Commons and Unsplash under Creative Commons.

In our hands. The senate runoff election on the 5th determines who will control our Senate for the next 4 years. The candidates have tirelessly campaigned after the general election in order to win. “Paying attention to other elections, like this runoff, gives us more autonomy over our government and that’s a privilege we have as Americans,” says senior Luiza Parodia.

Naisha Roy, Copy Editor

With the electoral college giving Biden a decisive victory on the 14th, it seems like one of the longest and most divisive elections in the history of the United States is finally drawing to a close. However, for Georgians, the election is far from over. Georgians that can vote have one more responsibility to our nation this year: voting in the upcoming senate elections on January 5th. Regardless of political affiliation, this election is integral to determining the majority in the senate during Biden’s presidency, with Republicans holding 50 seats and Democrats holding 48 as of the November 3rd general election.

“Georgia had the once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to vote for every congressional and senatorial seat in addition to the presidency in November,” said senior Ben Hempker. “Now, we are also able to decide who will hold the Senate Majority.”

If both democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock win their respective runoffs against current republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, then the senate would be a 50-50 tie for both parties. In this scenario, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote for any splits, effectively flipping the Senate blue and ending the senate gridlock. However, if even one of the Republican candidates wins the election, the senate would stay red by a slim margin, keeping their majority. So, it’s more important than ever for Georgia’s citizens to educate themselves on the candidates prior to voting. All eyes are on our state this election, and with the state flipping blue for the first time in the past 7 elections, the results of the election are unpredictable.

If you watch, be sure to look at what the candidates will do in office and take the time to research whether what they say is correct and in line with your values.”

— Ben Hempker

Hempker encourages everyone to watch the senatorial debates in order to educate themselves on which candidates best represent them. “[the debates] are an awesome opportunity to see Reverend Warnock, Senator Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff speak, even though David Perdue declined to attend,” he says. 

Senior Luiza Parodia added, “Check in on your local news, check in on national news. Don’t like televised news? Listen to podcasts, watch debates, read articles. Ignorance is not an excuse in this day and age.”

On December 6th, the candidates had a debate over politics and why they should represent Georgia in the Capitol. All the candidates except for Perdue attended. Perdue has refused to debate Ossoff several times following a particularly harsh debate between the two where Ossoff pressed allegations of downplaying COVID against Perdue. In the Debate on Sunday, Ossoff took 30 minutes by himself on the stage, promising to improve race relations in Georgia as well as criticizing his opponent over the lack of stimulus checks in Georgia and adequate COVID relief. Ossoff also commented on the lack of Perdue’s presence, citing that his not being there showed his lack of concern for Georgians. 

The senate debate. 3 out of the 4 candidates take the stage and debate on why they deserve to be elected to the senate. While Jon Ossoff argued with an empty podium, Loeffler and Warnock exchanged heated discussions about why they were the best candidate. Streamed by nbc.

When Loeffler and Warnock debated, the two seemed to have very different strategies for answering questions. Loeffler was grilled several times over the large amounts of stock exchanges she partook in during the pandemic, as well as whether she agreed with President Trump’s claims that the election was fraudulent. She responded by citing her humble origins by being born on a farm and working her way up, citing that she was “fighting for the American Dream.” She also stated that Trump had every legal recourse available to challenge the election. 

Warnock had to face allegations of being a “radical leftist” as stated several times by Loeffler. While he dodged the question of whether democrats would pack the courts, he did argue for criminal justice reform and women’s abortion rights, stating that a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. Government were “too many people in the room.” The one thing that both candidates agreed on was the Covid Vaccine, stating that they would both take it and encouraging other citizens to do so as well.

Hempker weighed in on the debate, stating that he “thought Warnock showed how he would represent Georgia well and provided many examples of how he would help us out of the pandemic and economic situation.”

In all honesty, despite my political beliefs and yours, I want you to vote. I want a government that looks and thinks like the people living in this country and the only way we can achieve that is by voting.”

— Luiza Parodia

While several people are tired of the plethora of political discussions these past few months have brought on, Parodia encourages Georgians to keep their heads held high.

“It’s ok to be tired, fed up, exhausted. But at the same time, a lot of people have been exhausted for the past four years. And a lot of people will be exhausted for the next four. You don’t have to devote your life to politics and elections, just keep in mind your civic duty to remain informed and to vote,” she urged.

At the end of the day, whether or not the Senate stays in a gridlock is completely dependent on Georgia. We have a responsibility to our nation to elect the senators that best represent us, and early voting has already begun. We need to educate ourselves on how to vote, go to websites like I Will Vote, as well as visit both candidates’ websites to make sure this state has their voice heard on January 5th.