(The Center Square) – Polls have closed at most precincts across Georgia in Tuesday's runoff elections.
Six polling places remained open past 7 p.m. because of issues earlier in the day. More than 3 million Georgians voted early or by mail ahead of the U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission runoff races.
The two U.S. Senate runoffs between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff and Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock will determine the balance of power in Congress.
In a District 4 runoff for public service commissioner, Republican incumbent Lauren "Bubba" McDonald Jr. faces Democratic challenger Daniel Blackman. The Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) oversees utility rates in the state. District 4 includes more than three dozen counties in north Georgia.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Tuesday's election went smoothly with short wait times. A few polling locations reported wait times between 20 to 30 minutes in the afternoon, officials said, but by evening, some saw wait times around an hour.
"After wait times averaging just 2 minutes on Nov. 3rd, Georgia's election administration is hitting a new milestone for effectiveness and efficiency," Raffensperger said. "I have always said that after every election, half the people will be happy and half will be disappointed, but everyone should be confident in the reliability of the results."
Poll workers in Columbia County reported having problems programming equipment and queuing voting machines. The Columbia County precincts remained opened until 7:01 p.m and 7:04 p.m. Another polling place in Gwinnett County stayed open until 7:04 p.m., and a Tift County polling place remains open until 7:40 p.m. Two precincts in Chatham County will remain open until 7:33 p.m. and 7:35 p.m.
Officials did not disclose the reason for the delays in Gwinnett, Chatham and Tift counties.
Officials in Cobb, Cherokee and Gilmer counties all requested judicial extensions, where polling places in the areas could remain open as late as 7:40 p.m.
Gabriel Sterling, the state's voting system implementation manager, said it could take a "couple of days" to count all of the votes. There were 229,357 outstanding absentee ballots shortly after 6 p.m.
Local election offices were allowed to start scanning the absentee ballots two weeks ago. Sterling said he anticipates smaller counties would finish scanning the absentee ballots by 9 p.m. All absentee ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and counted by Friday.