Voters in Georgia turned out in record numbers on the first day of early voting, casting more votes than during the first day of early voting for the 2018 midterm elections.
131,318 votes were cast in person on Monday. According to a statement from the Georgia secretary of state’s office, 70,849 votes were cast in person on the first day of early voting in the 2018 midterm elections.
The outcome on Monday came close to matching the 136,739 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2020, a year with a presidential election. Through Monday, 143,077 ballots had been cast in total, including 11,759 that had been cast by absentee ballot thus far this year. Georgia will hold early voting till November 4.
The turnout figures may allay some worries about voter suppression after Georgia, which was governed by Republicans, approved a restrictive voting law last year, but it is still unclear what the voter demographics are.
Georgia saw record-high voter attendance in the primaries this spring, but the Brennan Center for Justice noted a significant disparity between white and Black voter turnout.
The governor’s race between Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and the competitive Senate race between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and GOP contender Herschel Walker are two of the most keenly followed contests in Georgia this election year.
Record midterm turnout on Day 1 of early voting in Georgia: About 124,000 in-person votes cast, smashing the previous high of 71,000 on the first day of early voting in 2018. https://t.co/nnobjHw2G8 pic.twitter.com/X4UWjOJeQn
— Mark Niesse (@markniesse) October 18, 2022
The U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida reports that more than 2.5 million votes have now been cast countrywide. The rise in first-day turnout in Georgia, where significant races for governor and the Senate are being held, shattered the 2018 midterm record of 71,000 with an 85-percent increase and neared the 136,739 day-one votes of the 2020 presidential election.
Since 2018, when former secretary of state Brian Kemp beat Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in the run for governor, Georgia’s elections have drawn attention from across the world. Four years later, Abrams is hopeful that her statewide Fair Fight Action campaign for voting rights and registration will help her defeat Kemp and Democrats across the state in her rematch.
Democrats, whose supporters often take advantage of early voting and mail-in ballot access to a larger extent than Republican voters, are encouraged by the increase in early voting. The balance of power in the upper house might be decided by any one Senate election since the vice president’s ability to break ties now determines who controls the chamber.
The midterm turnout may surpass the historic highs achieved in 2018. The Morning Consult reports that the proportion of eligible voters planning to cast a ballot in 2022 is the same as it was four years ago, and that voter excitement has significantly increased for several demographics, particularly males and independents.
The election on November 8 is sure to be exciting thanks to this passion. Despite maintaining the narrowest of majorities in a general election, projections indicate the Democrats are unlikely to preserve their hold on both chambers of Congress. Georgia may make a distinction.
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