Voter turnout in Georgia already on pace to be strong

Early voting launched in Georgia Monday ahead of the Nov. 8 General Election and turnout is already looking strong.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and, but 4:15 p.m., more than 100,000 had already cast a ballot throughout the state, according to WSB 2 in Atlanta, which obtained information from the Secretary of State’s office.

Early voting runs through Friday, Nov. 4, with two additional days of Saturday voting to be held Oct. 22 and 29.

“This blows away the previous midterm first-day record of approximately 72,000,” Georgia Secretary of State spokesperson Gabe Sterling told the Atlanta outlet.

By comparison, nearly 800,000 people voted early in-person for the Primary Election in May. In 2020, that number was just 326,000 and just 300,000 in 2018, according to WSB 2.

Vote-by-mail is also ongoing in Georgia. Voters must request a ballot online or by mail by Oct. 28. Under new Georgia law, mail ballots returned in-person must be dropped at drop boxes located in early voting locations, or returned by mail. 

The top of the Georgia ballot features a competitive Governor’s race between incumbent Republican Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, who Kemp narrowly defeated four years ago. Kemp leads in the polls, but most watchers expect the race to be close. 

Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel could force a runoff in the race if he receives enough votes to keep either major party candidate from reaching more than 50% of the vote on Election Day.

Likewise, the U.S. Senate race on the ballot, featuring incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, is garnering national attention as one of a handful of races nationwide that could determine the partisan make-up of the now-tied Senate. The race has been heated in recent weeks as allegations swirl about the anti-abortion Walker reportedly paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion in 2009. That race also features a Libertarian candidate and could likely be heading to a runoff as well.

Other statewide races on the ballot include lieutenant governor, Secretary of State, attorney general and Georgia schools superintendent. 

In local races, all of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats are on the ballot. 

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