Democrats take control of the Senate

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT) January 6, 2021
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12:32 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Votes are still coming in from largely Democratic counties, Georgia election official says

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager, just delivered what he said would be the final briefing from the Georgia secretary of state’s office for the night.

Sterling said overall, it looks like they have about 27,600 or so advance votes to come in. About 19,000 will come in from DeKalb County and about 7,000 from Coffee County. He added that there will be a hodgepodge of other votes in other locations. 

There is a small list of incomplete counties: Appling, Bibb, Camden, Cobb, Coffee, DeKalb, Douglas, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Houston, Lumpkin, Newton and Pickens.

Sterling said there were 1,244,374 votes cast on Election Day, which is more than they anticipated.

He also said the secretary of state's office asked counties to please finish processing absentee ballots that were received on Election Day by lunchtime Wednesday.

On Chatham County, Sterling said they did not just stop counting for the night, and he explained they have counted everything they have.

Chatham has a unique system — they have both a Board of Elections and a Board of Registrations. The Board of Registration gets the ballots in, accepts them, then hands them to Board of Elections to count them. Out of abundance of looking out for employees, they will allow the registration group to finish their work tonight, then hands over in the morning for the Board of Elections to finish. What's left is the absentee ballots that came in today via mail and drop box. 

“In terms of the amount of votes that are potentially out there are coming from largely Democratic counties, there are some Republican counties – Floyd, Forsyth, Appling – but they are smaller in comparison to DeKalb's, Gwinnett's, Cobb's and Fulton's,” Sterling said. “That tells you that the outstanding will likely be leaning Democrat at best.”

Sterling said he believes there will be a midmorning update Wednesday.

12:27 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Faint hopes growing dim, GOP sources say

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

As CNN reported earlier, Republicans were very concerned about the release of votes in the Democratic stronghold of DeKalb County.

Once those results came in and dramatically swung the race in favor of Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock and also narrowed the gap for Democrat Jon Ossoff, GOP operatives conceded that their path to victory was narrow and starting to vanish.

One Georgia Republican said he believed the outstanding vote was too heavily tilted in favor of the Democrats for either Republican to be able to win.

Another Washington Republican operative said the best hope at this point for the GOP is that Perdue can keep the margin close enough that would allow for a recount, but even that seemed unlikely. 

12:25 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Georgia secretary of state says the election remains "very close"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tonight hailed the state's "tremendous turnout," but warned votes are still coming in from across the state and overseas that might ultimately determine the outcome of the two Senate races.

“Its very close as you can see," Raffensperger said, speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer just before midnight. 

Raffensperger, who is a Republican, declined to speculate on how the distribution of uncounted votes might affect the final count, but said unprocessed ballots were "somewhat scattered" across the state.

"We are a very competitive state," Raffensperger told CNN. "We are just going to have to wait and see how this all turns out."

He also pointed out that up to 17,000 overseas and military ballots would not be counted until Friday at 5 p.m., and indicated that election officials may soon pause counting for the night.

Raffensperger, who is charge of Georgia's elections, hailed the large turnout, saying he believed it could reach nearly 4.6 million once all ballots are counted. In contrast, about 5 million Georgians voted in the 2020 election. 

It's been a "tremendous turnout," he said. 

Watch Raffensperger's interview:

12:20 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

The battle for Senate control remains neck-and-neck. Here's where things stand. 

It is a little past midnight, and the margins between the GOP and Democratic candidates remain razor-thin with at least 97% of the votes tallied.

Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock currently is ahead of GOP candidate Kelly Loeffler by more than 35,000 votes.

Meanwhile, GOP candidate David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff both are extremely close.

11:54 p.m. ET, January 5, 2021

Gwinnett County will continue counting tomorrow morning

From CNN's Wes Bruer

Gwinnett County, a suburb of Atlanta, has finished counting for the day, leaving just under 4,800 absentee and a small number of military ballots and cured absentee ballots to be counted, county officials said.

The county has counted all Election Day ballots, advance in-person ballots, and most of the absentee by mail ballots have been counted and posted to the secretary of state’s website, county spokesperson Joe Sorenson said. 

The county will begin counting the small number of ballots beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

12:00 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Democrat Warnock takes lead over Loeffler

Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock has just taken the lead over incumbent GOP Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler.

Warnock currently holds a 32,214-vote lead over Loeffler.

Republican David Perdue's lead has narrowed as more votes trickle in tonight. Here's where things stand:

CNN's Wolf Blitzer has more:

12:17 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Democratic-leaning DeKalb County currently has the largest outstanding vote

The biggest chunk of outstanding votes is the early in-person voting numbers from DeKalb County, Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia Secretary of State's office, told CNN this evening. Sterling confirmed that 171,000 early in-person votes have not been calculated yet in the county.

"DeKalb County is going to have a really big impact on the outcome, but like I said there are dozens and dozens of counties out there and you take lots of counties with a few votes margin versus one big county with a big vote margin, they can even out," Sterling said. "So we potentially have a long night ahead."

DeKalb county is heavily Democratic and played a key role in handing President-elect Joe Biden a victory in the state in the presidential election.

"The largest number of outstanding votes is still right here and those are early in-person votes for DeKalb. This could be good news for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock," CNN's Nick Valencia noted tonight.

DeKalb surpassed in-person, Election Day voting from November today, a spokesperson for the county told CNN earlier this evening.

Watch Sterling's interview:

12:20 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

More than 90% of votes have been tallied in the runoff elections. Here is where things stand.

With at least 91% of estimated votes, the Senate runoff elections are still too close to call and the margins are razor-thin.

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling told CNN just now that there are still at least 171,000 early in-person votes from Democratic-leaning DeKalb County that haven’t been reported yet.

Incumbent GOP candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are currently ahead Democratic rivals Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Here's where things stand in both races:

10:57 p.m. ET, January 5, 2021

Warnock campaign eyes absentee ballots to boost their numbers

From CNN's Kyung Lah

Rev. Raphael Warnock's campaign is eyeing absentee ballot reports tonight to boost their numbers.

As the Democrat's campaign has been doing throughout the night, a senior Warnock campaign aide stressed it is too early to make any predictions with too much of the vote is outstanding.

“Patiently waiting! Not jumping the gun over here," the senior aide said in reaction to the latest numbers.

Here's a look at where things stand right now: