SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says voters are turning out in “record numbers” this 2020 election season.

During the past week of early voting, 1.5 million voters have cast a ballot in person or returned their absentee ballots (which will be counted on Election Day.)

That is a 156% increase from this same time period in 2016.

In a press conference Monday, Raffensperger said over 1.6 million absentee voter requests have been made in the state, and as of Monday afternoon, more than 670,000 ballots had been returned either through mail or in the designated drop boxes at locations in counties throughout Georgia.

Watch the complete press conference in the video below:

Raffensperger says voting by absentee is safe, and tells voters who have not received their absentee ballot to wait to see if they get the ballot in the mail this week.

“If it still doesn’t show up, I would encourage you to vote early (in person) and show up at one of your county’s early locations and tell them you did not receive your absentee ballot,” he said. “They can take you off the list of absentees (basically cancel that ballot) and then let you vote there in person.”

Raffensperger defended his office in terms of complaints about long lines in the first week of early voting in person.

He says delays were caused by a state system that verifies voter’s information, the eNet system.

Raffensperger said the large turnout last week was affecting the time to check in individual voters but that things have been fixed, and the issue should not be a problem on Election Day.

He is urging voters who can to vote early (either in person or by absentee), saying they have tried to provide options to voters during the pandemic. Even with up to several million voting early in some way, Raffensperger predicts at least 2 million voters will cast a ballot on Nov. 3.

Numbers from Secretary of State’s Office:

  • Ballots Cast as of Noon on October 19, 2020:
    • Total Number of Ballots Cast: 1,555,622
    • Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast Monday at noon: 58,494
    • Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 879,797
    • Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 675,825
  • Ballots Cast as of Close of Polls on October 24, 2016:
    • Total Number of Ballots Cast: 699,768
    • Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 603,711
    • Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 96,057
  • Percentage Increase in Total Turnout to Date: 156%