Democrats Say Facebook, Google Political Ad Bans Will Suppress Voter Turnout During Senate Double Runoff Election in Georgia

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Facebook and Google are banning political ads from their platforms with no exceptions allowed, at a time when two U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs in a Jan. 5 runoff election in Georgia that could help determine control of that chamber, NBC News reported.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized the decisions, which they said, “amount to unacceptable voter suppression.”

Facebook advertising executive Rob Leathern tweeted, “We’re temporarily extending a number of measures we put in place to protect the election process. Everyone on Facebook and Instagram in the US continues to see the labels we’ve been running on candidate posts saying Biden is the projected winner.”

Leathern also tweeted, “We know that people are disappointed that we can’t immediately enable ads for runoff elections in Georgia and elsewhere. It’s taken years to build the infrastructure that supports the Facebook Ad Library and ensure that political ads are transparent.”

Georgia is in an unusual situation this year in that both U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs; a state’s seats are normally staggered to prevent this scenario. Both incumbents are Republicans.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. David Perdue was on the regular six-year re-election schedule and is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff, The New York Times reported.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her seat last year after Sen. Johnny Isakson retired for health reasons. She was on a special election to serve the remainder of the term, which expires in 2022. Her opponent is Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Both races are now in runoff status because none of the candidates reached the required minimum 50 percent of the vote.

The Republican National Committee on Friday said it will invest in more than 600 staffers in Georgia at a cost of at least $20 million for the runoff, The Associated Press reported.

The RNC says it knocked on more than 3 million doors in Georgia for Election Day 2020, made more than 8 million phone calls and registered at least 16,000 voters.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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