Raffensperger, a Republican, can’t move much more quickly because each of the state’s 159 counties must first finalize its vote count by a Jan. 15 deadline, according to the secretary of state’s office. After counties report their results, it’s possible that Raffensperger could certify the election before Jan. 22.
Until results are completed, Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is still in office, serving the unfinished term of former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s six-year term ended Jan. 3.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York set to become the Senate’s majority leader, confirmed that state election results must be certified before Georgia’s new senators can take office.
A recount in runoffs appears unlikely. State law gives losing candidates a right to a recount if they trail by less than half a percentage point, but Warnock’s and Ossoff’s leads exceed that threshold. Each Democrat was winning his runoff by more than a 1% margin as of Friday.