ATLANTA (WSAV) — More than one million Georgians have cast their ballots for early voting, setting a midterm voting record.
On Tuesday, nearly 125,000 voters showed up early, which is a 23% increase since the 2018 midterms.
New state data shows that 16% of active voters in Georgia have already voted with the state receiving more than 100-thousand absentee ballots.
“When we had Governor Kemp win by 55,000 votes in 2018 and President Biden win by 11,779 in 2020, I think people who are republicans, democrats and independents realized that the weight of their vote is much higher than say Vermont or California,” said Gabe Sterling, the state’s voting implementation manager.
While northeast Georgia is seeing high voting, some areas like Augusta-Richmond county are seeing low turnout.
“If you look at Augusta-Richmond, they are one of the lowest turnouts in the state right now,” Sterling said. “They are little less than 7% of the registered voters have voted, but their suburban northern neighbor Columbia County has more than double the amount of voters that Richmond County has even though they have fewer registered voters.”
The secretary of state predicts around 5 million Georgians will vote in the November midterms and expects long lines on the last day of early voting and on election day.
“If you ever vote on a Friday, you are almost guaranteed a line, it’s just the nature of the beast unfortunately, especially in the middle of the day,” Sterling said.
Voting activists say to show up early, bring your ID, review the candidates and have a plan to vote.
“So we want to make sure that people know who they are going to vote for by getting a sample ballot,” said Deborah Scott, voting rights activist and CEO of Georgia Stand Up. “And then if you have a problem call the 1-866-our-vote number and let people know what’s going on.”
“The biggest thing we are seeing is there’s a lot of counties that are really overperforming,” Sterling said. “And a lot of them are randomly sort of in that eastern part of the state and northern part of the state. You see, the biggest counties have the biggest turnouts.”
The last day to request an absentee ballot is Friday, Oct. 28 and you have to return it by election day, Nov. 8 by 7 p.m.
Unlike election day, you can vote at any precinct in your county that’s open during early voting