Here are the key dates in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock hand out lawn signs at a campaign event on October 3, 2020 in Lithonia, Georgia.

Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images

Georgia voters will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate in two January runoff elections.

Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face competitive challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. Georgia election rules called for runoff races when no candidate exceeded 50% of voter share in either race during the Nov. 3rd general election.

Republicans have won 50 Senate seats while Democrats have flipped one net seat for a total of 48. If Democrats win both Georgia races, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tiebreaking vote, giving the party unified control of the White House and Congress.

Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator since 1996.

The runoff races come after President-elect Joe Biden made history as the first Democrat to win Georgia’s presidential race since 1992, NBC News projected Friday.

Here are the key dates in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections:

U.S. Senator David Perdue speaks during a campaign event in Cumming, Georgia, November 13, 2020.

Dustin Chambers | Reuters

Nov. 18 — Election officials can begin mailing absentee ballots

Any registered Georgia voter can cast their ballot by mail. Voters can request an absentee ballot through an online portal. Applications can also be submitted by mail, by fax or in person at a voter’s county board of registrar’s office.

Once voters receive and return their absentee ballots, they can track the status of their ballot online. Ballots can be returned by mail or deposited in an official absentee ballot drop box.

All absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 to be counted.

Dec. 7 — Voter registration deadline

Eligible Georgia residents can register to vote online or by mailing an application to the Secretary of State’s office. Registration is also offered when Georgians renew or apply for a driver’s license at the Department of Driver Services.

Voters can check their registration status online.

Residents who were not old enough to vote in the November election but will turn 18 by Jan. 5 can register to vote in the runoff elections.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler speaks to supporters during a Save Our Majority campaign rally with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on November 11, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia.

Jessica McGowan | Getty Images

Dec. 14 — In-person early voting begins

Jan. 5 — Election Day

Jan. 5 is the last day to vote in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections. Polls close at 7 p.m. ET.

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