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Georgia early voting turnout keeps setting records

Early voting turnout continued to set records in Georgia during the first week of the early voting period.

More than 18,100 voters cast early ballots on Sunday, when early voting was only offered in some counties. The Sunday total soared 211% above the early voting mark set on the first day of Sunday early voting ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As of Monday morning, about 758,000 voters had taken advantage of the first week of early voting. That shattered previous midterm turnout records during every day of early voting last week and was close to the early voting turnout ahead of the presidential election in 2020.

“Voters are enthusiastic, but most importantly, have the options available to get that vote in early,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “Voters registered at the [state Department of Driver Services] or online, took advantage of My Voter Page, and have the most up-to-date information available to make a plan.”

Raffensperger and other Republicans have argued the record early voting turnout refutes Democrats’ arguments that last year’s controversial election reforms enacted by the GOP-controlled General Assembly are not suppressing the vote.

But Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is challenging Republican Gov. Brian Kemp this year, said Monday the strong turnout doesn’t mean 2021’s Senate Bill 202 isn’t making it harder for Georgians to vote.“ Turnout does not dispel voter suppression,” she said. “Suppression is about barriers to access. … People showing up is in spite of the barriers.”

Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said while in-person early voting turnout is setting records, far fewer Georgians have requested absentee ballots this year. Last year’s bill requires voters to show a photo ID to vote absentee and significantly limits the number of absentee ballot drop boxes.

“That’s where you really see the impact of SB202,” Groh-Wargo said.

Groh-Wargo said Democrats are encouraged by the strong early voting turnout among women, which she ascribed to concern over the abortion issue, and among Black voters, who historically lean Democratic.

Raffensperger said reports of long lines have been rare, with some lines in the metro areas being reported.

Early voting turnout is expected to increase during the next couple of weeks. The final day of early voting will be Nov. 4.

To find early voting locations and hours in your county, visit the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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