An election official arranges voting stickers at a polling location in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Hurry up and wait.
Although the public, the press, and pundits clamored for the results of elections around the United States on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, several crucial races that will determine which political party controls the Senate could take days, or even weeks, to play out.
Georgia, whose two Senate run-offs in early 2021 gave Democrats majority control margins in that chamber, again could be the state that determines whether Republicans will be in the minority — and again could take the longest to provide a final result.
With 96% of the votes counted in Georgia, the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Raphael Warnock, had 49.2% of the vote, with his Republican challenger Herschel Walker holding 48.7%. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver had 2.1% of the vote.
If neither Warnock, who is seeking his first full term in office, nor Walker manages to crack 50% of the vote by the time all ballots are tallied in a day or two, a run-off election will be held between the two candidates on Dec. 6.
A quicker outcome might be seen In Wisconsin where the Republican incumbent, Sen. Ron Johnson, had 50.5% of the vote compared with the Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who had 49.3%. With 94% of the ballots in so far, a result in that race could come by Wednesday.
In Arizona, a much smaller percentage of the votes were in, which means it could take several days more to resolve the race between Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Blake Masters. Kelly had 51.4% of the vote, and Masters had 46.4%.
But just 69% of the ballots had been tabulated in Arizona, where many voters submitted ballots early, before Election Day.
Ballots that were submitted at polling places on Tuesday will take days to have their signatures verified and counted.
In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt had 49.9% of the vote, compared with the 47.2% of the vote held by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent Democrat.
But just 80% of the vote in the state was in.
Most of the ballots in the state will be mail-in votes, which have four days to arrive if they are postmarked by Election Day. Because of that, it could take several days, if not more, to get a final result.
Democrats, who currently hold 48 seats in the Senate, where they caucus with two independents, cannot afford to have a net loss of a single seat if they are to retain the majority in the Senate. Although Republicans hold 50 seats, they are in the minority because Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, has the power to break tie votes in the chamber.