US Senator Raphael Warnock, left, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker (AP/Getty Images)

Democrats clinched 50 Senate seats, but the stakes remain high for Georgia’s Dec. 6 runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Neither candidate passed the 50% threshold needed to win the November general election race, forcing a runoff.

Here’s what that means and what a win or loss would mean for Democrats and the GOP:

What is a trickle and how does it work? A run-off is an additional election used to determine the winner of a certain race when none of the candidates meet the threshold required for victory – in this case, 50%.

In Georgia, run-offs are simpler than general elections in that the candidate with the most votes wins.

How will the voting take place? Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, said counties are already gearing up for the Dec. 6 election and voters can request mail-in ballots Wednesday through Nov. 28 through the state’s online portal. State.

Early voting is due to begin by Nov. 28 in all counties, but Raffensperger said his office anticipates some counties may have early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26 or Sunday, Nov. 27. “We are working with the counties to find out what their plans are. are on that front,” he said.

What is at stake for each party? Simply put, a lot.

With Democrats set to hold 50 Senate seats, Georgia voters will determine whether the chamber remains split 50-50 – and operates under a power-sharing deal that hinges on Vice President Kamala Harris in the event of a tie. vote – or if the Democrats get the 51 seats needed for a real majority.

Senior Democratic and Republican party officials have told CNN they intend to double down on significant investments in Georgia, with growing speculation that significant Senate scrutiny could hinge on the runoff outcome.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg and Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.

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