More than 1.5 million Georgians voted in the first week of early voting
By Raisa Habersham
During a Monday press conference, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger profusely thanked citizens for the enormous early voting turnout while acknowledging the state’s efforts to ensure safety and security at the polls.
“After June, we all knew that we had to take effective steps to have a smooth election for the fall. We have worked to build a voter centric election,” Raffensperger said.
More than 1.5 million voters cast ballots during the first week of early voting, which Raffensperger called record-breaking turnout. The total includes in-person and mail-in voting ballots. More than 1.6 million people requested absentee ballots, but more than 660,000 had been accepted by the state, Raffensperger said.
By the evening, Monday’s voter turnout numbers jumped to nearly 1.6 million ballots cast before Election Day, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. For context, this is a 142 percent increase compared to early voter turnout numbers in 2016 when only 699,768 people had early voted in that time frame.
During the June primaries, Georgia saw a combination of issues leading voters to cast ballots early or request an absentee ballot for fear they’ll be waiting in long lines again. Last week, early voting locations across metro Atlanta’s largest counties – Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett – saw an all too familiar scene.
When asked, Raffensperger acknowledged technological issues -which have since been resolved – led to some of the delays. Hesaid those issues aren’t a high concern going into Election Day.
Initially, Raffensperger projected 1.5 million people would vote early and another 2 million would vote by mail. But given the increased voter turnout during the first week of early voting, he projects there will be more people showing up at the polls early.
“The more that vote early, the less that will be left on the playing field to show up on Election Day,” he said.
Here is the breakdown of the early voting turnout through Monday for Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties:
In-Person Early Voting: 20, 757
Absentee Ballots received: 18,332
In-Person Early Voting: 60,636
Absentee Ballots received: 81,507
In-Person Early Voting: 80, 708
Absentee Ballots received: 61,055
In-Person Early Voting: 80,905
Absentee Ballots received: 66,239
In-Person Early Voting: 81,901
Absentee Ballots received: 55,332 (this number is through Sunday, Oct. 18)
Voters can learn more about early voting or voting by mail by visiting https://sos.ga.gov/.