Cherokee County voters encountered clear weather and mostly fast moving lines at voting precincts on Tuesday for the runoffs for U.S. Senate and a Public Service Commission seat.

More than 100 voters responding to a question from tribuneledgernews.com reported experiences that ranged from less than 10 minutes at many rural precincts up to 30 minutes or more at some city locations.

Two of the 40 local polling places stayed open a few minutes past 7 p.m. because of confusion over a report of a suspicious object at one Woodstock location.

A visitor to the polling station at Allen Temple AMC Church in Woodstock pointed out the object to a city police officer who quickly determined it was a spent fireworks casing, according to police Chief Calvin Moss. A veteran officer at the nearby Woodstock City Church polling station mentioned the incident to a poll manager before going outside to walk around the church.

Elections officials sought approval for 15 and 20 minute voting extensions respectively for the precincts thinking that traffic into the stations was briefly interrupted. But, traffic into the station was never stopped at either location, Moss said.

"It was a miscommunication apparently," he said.

Republicans only have to win one of the two seats in the runoffs to maintain majority control of the chamber. The races pit Republicans David Perdue, whose Senate term officially expired Jan. 3, and Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively. For PSC Republican incumbent Lauren "Bubba" McDonald is facing Democrat Daniel Blackman.

In Cherokee County, Perdue earned 90,146 votes (70.6 percent), compared to Ossoff's 37,503 (29.3 percent). Loeffler received 89,346 votes (70 percent) to Warnock's 38,274 (29.9 percent). In the PSC runoff, McDonald received 90,738 (71.9 percent) to Blackman's 35,449 (28 percent). 

If Democrats win both races, the Senate would be tied 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote that would give Democrats control.

Republicans have controlled both of Georgia’s Senate seats for 15 years, but the state has become increasingly competitive, and President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump here by a narrow margin — just under 12,000 votes — in November.

With the stakes so high, the two sides spent more than half a billion dollars on the two-month runoff campaign, and each race broke the record for spending in a Senate race. In both, the Democratic candidates raised considerably more money than the Republican incumbents, but spending by outside groups — mostly four super-PACs affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — gave the Republicans an overall advantage.

There were few snafus Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of voters across the state poured into polling stations on a chilly but bright, sunny day to cast their ballots.

Wait times across the state averaged about one minute, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Statewide results can be found here.

Find Cherokee County results here.

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Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

Managing Editor

Gary Tanner is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee Ledger-News and Cherokee Life magazine. He has been working as a journalist since 1985.

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