DeKalb passes historic 2008 early voting totals

DeKalb County early voting totals have surpassed that of the historic 2008 election totals, officials confirmed Monday.

On Friday, early voting totals reached 166,280, according to election data posted on the county's website. That amount also includes 16,079 absentee ballots.

The number tops that of the historic 2008 election season, which had 150,897 early voting ballots. A decade ago, early voting was held only a week before elections, between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31; much shorter than the three weeks currently allowed for early voting.

But DeKalb elections director Erica Hamilton stopped just short of saying Tuesday’s totals would surpass the amount of ballots cast a decade ago during the general election.

“I can’t gauge it, but with the surge in voters, we’ll be close,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday morning.

Hamilton predicted the county would pass 2008 early voting totals Friday, the last day for early voting. Typically the busiest for early voting, Hamilton said the final day had wait times up to two-and-a-half hours at a few precincts, including at South DeKalb Mall where the last ballot was cast at 10:46 p.m.

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“With the enthusiasm that voters have shown, I think we’ll have a good turnout tomorrow,” Hamilton said.

The gubernatorial race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp has thrust Georgia into the national spotlight. Within the past week, high profile people have campaigned for the candidates.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence made three stops in Georgia — Dalton, Savannah and Grovetown — for Kemp. President Donald Trump held a rally Sunday for the secretary of state in Macon. Oprah Winfrey campaigned for Abrams on Thursday in Decatur and Marietta. On Friday, former President Barack Obama spoke during a rally held for Abrams at Morehouse College.

Statewide, the number of early voters is a new high for a midterm election with  2.1 million votes cast ahead of Tuesday's election. Early turnout more than doubled from the last midterm election in 2014, when about 954,000 people cast advance ballots.

Hamilton said poll workers are prepared for the throngs of voters expected, but said so far they haven't experienced glaring issues.

DeKalb has seen a few hiccups this election season with a polling place opening late last week and allegations of missing absentee ballot applications.

The state Democratic party claims there are 4,700 registered voters in DeKalb who have submitted absentee ballot applications but still have not received their ballots.

The county elections board and Secretary of State’s office have said there is no evidence of missing or lost ballot applications in the county.

RELATED| Ga. Democrats allege missing absentee ballot applications in DeKalb

MORE| Early voting turnout reached new highs for a Georgia midterm election

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READ|Brian Kemp under scrutiny after announcing probe of Democrats

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