In 2020, two runoff elections in Georgia tipped the Senate into Democrat hands.

This time, the candidates have just four weeks between the general election and the runoff to make their case; instead of the nine they had before.

The runoff is mandatory because a third candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver, garnered 2.1% in the initial round of balloting on November. 8. That was enough to keep both Warnock and Walker from taking more than half the vote; which is required to avoid a runoff.

Less than 1 percentage point separated Warnock and Walker, with Warnock slightly ahead. They will be the only candidates up for consideration on December 6.

The runoff campaign is structured similarly to any other, with weeks of intense public relations efforts. Voters can request absentee ballots now, although they won’t be mailed until Nov. 18. Mail-in ballots have to be received by the time the polls close on Dec. 6.

Early voting must start by November 28; although some counties may start sooner.

Early voting ends on December 2.

Warnock won his seat in a January 5, 2021 special election runoff. Together with Jon Ossoff’s victory in a concurrent Senate runoff, our state gave Democrats the narrow majority they have been defending to this day.

Unlike in 2020, only one of those Georgia seats is up this year.

In early 2021, Georgia lawmakers passed voting law changes, among them a requirement that the runoff take place four weeks after the general election.

Republican authors said the extended runoff period was exhausting for candidates, donors and voters alike.

Critics suggested the change was aimed at suppressing Democrat turnout.

Perhaps, they are both correct.

The new law also states that early voting should start “as soon as possible” but has to begin eight days ahead of the runoff. That would be November 28, 2022.

Counties are allowed to open balloting earlier if they are able. Weekends give a chance for people who work weekdays to vote early.

This year, voters must make time to cast a ballot. Georgia law says counties cannot hold early in-person voting on Thanksgiving or the following Friday and Saturday, and they cannot do it before the results of the general election are certified. That is unlikely to happen before November 21.

The above circumstances could further hinder turnout. Recent trends in the South would tend to favor the Republican.

Due to the shortened window to deliver runoff ballots, military and overseas voters used ranked choice absentee ballots to rank all possible candidates before a primary or general election. This allows the preferences of those warriors who protect our nation to be determined in any possible runoff.

The world is watching. This runoff will bring money into our state, attention from foreign leaders (both enemies and friends), and may give us a prelude of the strongest candidate for president in 2024.

Georgia has always been the center of national Democrats’ and Republicans’ efforts to establish a solid majority in the South. The runoff will increase this effort by the 2024 presidential contenders soaking up the attention and attempting to tip the balance toward their political futures.

This runoff also truly reflects the division within our state and country. But, strong leadership can bring people together for a common purpose. Strong leadership empowers others.

Here, the common purpose is taking action that benefits the state of Georgia.