Turnout on First Day of Georgia Early Voting Breaks Midterm Record
ATLANTA — Georgia voters turned out in record numbers on Monday, Oct. 17, the first day of early voting ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election.
In all, 131,318 people turned out to vote in person on Monday, up from 70,849 on the first day of voting ahead of the 2018 midterm election — an 85% increase, according to the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The turnout is nearly as large as the state’s first day of early voting in the 2020 presidential election, when 136,739 decided to beat the rush and cast a ballot.
Absentee ballots cast Monday totaled 11,759, bringing Georgia’s total turnout so far to 143,077, the office said.
Georgia is host to some of this year’s most-anticipated elections.
First, there’s the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
Then there’s the high-profile gubernatorial race featuring Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is again challenging GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Raffensperger, a Republican who inspired Trump’s wrath for challenging the ex-president’s false claims that the 2020 election was unfairly rigged against him, is also running for reelection.
His opponents are Democratic State Rep. Bee Nguyen, Libertarian Ted Metz, and write-in Brenda Nelson-Porter.
This is the first year that Georgians are going to the polls under new rules imposed by the Republican-led Legislature following the party’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
They include shortening the time to request a mail-in ballot, rolling back the pandemic-driven expansion of ballot drop boxes and reducing early voting before runoff elections.
The law also made it a misdemeanor to hand out food or drinks to any voter standing in line, and limits voters’ ability to cast a provisional ballot if they go to the wrong precinct.
It also allows any Georgia voter to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of other voters within the same county.
Early voting in Georgia will continue until the Friday before Election Day.