WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
When will Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock be sworn in as senators? Will they vote in the impeachment hearing?
The deadline for the Georgia Secretary of State to certify the votes is Jan. 22, 2021, at 5 p.m. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has 24 hours to do a final certification where he issues "certificates of election." Both can certify sooner.
Currently, Sen. Mitch McConnell says he plans to wait until after Inauguration Day to take up the articles of impeachment.
With the Senate preparing to take up the articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives, posts are popping up about when the newly-elected Georgia senators are going to take their oaths of office.
Georgia code sets the timeline:
By 5 p.m. Jan. 15, all Georgia counties must send their certified votes to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
By 5 p.m. on Jan. 22, the Secretary of State must certify the votes for the state, and by that time on Jan. 23, the Governor must to a final certification.
That's the general timeline, however, certification can happen sooner.
According to the official Senate Rules, the Secretary of the Senate must get a copy of the certificate, and will enter it into "a well-bound book kept for that purpose."
"And with that, then the two senators alike could show up and say, 'hey, we're here, we're ready to take our oath,'" Charles Bullock, a political science professor from the University of Georgia said.
Recently, McConnell said he won’t take up the issue of impeachment until after the inauguration, and this can be a lengthy process. McConnell pointed out in a statement, the three impeachment trials we’ve had lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days.
Bullock explained that by the time the Senate would be ready to vote on impeachment, the newly appointed Georgia senators should be sworn in.
"I would think they would certainly be in place by that point," he said. "So yes, they would be able to participate in that debate and vote on it.”
So we can Verify, the new senators should be sworn in before the actual vote of the impeachment trial. What could cause a delay to the process is whether or not candidates request a recount in the Georgia runoff election.
"State law does not require an automatic recount of votes," Georgia's state website reads, "However, based on Georgia H.B. 316 (2019), a candidate can request a recount if the margin is less than or equal to 0.5%. That request has to be made within two business days of the results being certified."
Bullock said he "can't imagine there's going to be a recount."
"Since both of the incumbent senators have conceded, I can't imagine they're going to go and spend money out of their own pockets when one of them is losing by 40,000-50,000 votes, the other one by about twice that much," Bullock said. "So these are not nearly as close as the presidential election, which Joe Biden won by fewer than 12,000 votes."
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