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Monday, November 3, 2014 - 6:10pm

A Runoff Explained

A new poll suggests that Governor Nathan Deal may have enough votes to avoid a runoff.

The statewide poll conducted by Landmark Communications and WSB-TV puts Governor Deal ahead by 50.8 percent to Jason Carter’s 44.5 percent. Libertarian candidate Andrew Hunt has dropped to 2.5 percent.

A runoff may be needed to decide Georgia’s U.S. Senate race though.

According to the survey, Republican candidate David Perdue is leading Democrat Michelle Nunn by 49.8 percent to her 45.6 percent. This puts Perdue a few points shy of needing a special election.

Several pollsters and pundits have said that the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races were so close that they would likely be settled in a runoff.

What is a runoff, when would it take place and how does it impact voters? Political Rewind’s Bill Nigut provides the following explainer.

Why does a runoff happen?

Bill Nigut: Georgia law requires that a candidate must receive 50% of the vote +1 to be declared the winner. If no one does, then the top two candidates meet in a runoff.

What will voters have to do?

Bill Nigut: Voters will have to return to the polls to vote again in the election.

Do candidates campaign all over again?

Bill Nigut: Yes. As long as the election remains undecided, candidates will continue to work at a furious pace to win.

Will they hold another debate?

Bill Nigut: That question won't be resolved until the campaigns have learned that they will be in a runoff. At that point, news organizations will decide if they want to sponsor debates and candidates will decide if they want to participate.

When will the runoff election take place?

Bill Nigut: Georgia voters face the prospect of having TWO runoff election dates.

If there's a runoff for governor, that election will take place on December 2. If there's a runoff for U.S. Senate, the election will be held on January 6.

This is the first time we may see two separate runoff election dates. That's because a federal judge ruled that to give military personnel the chance to cast ballots in the runoff, additional time would be added to the election calendar for the Senate. The Senate race is essentially a federal election. State offices are under separate jurisdiction.


Bill Nigut