Early voting heavy ahead of Georgia’s 6th District runoff

Nearly half as many voters have cast ballots over the past two days ahead of Georgia's 6th Congressional District runoff than voted during the entire three-week early voting period ahead the original April 18 special election.

Early voting for the June 20 contest between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff began Tuesday and runs through June 16.

Already, 24,476 votes in the race have been recorded through Wednesday evening, according to data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Update 6/5: Early voting tops 46,000 over the weekend

Another 18,464 absentee ballots by mail have yet to be returned.

That's compared to about 55,000 early votes cast ahead of the original special election.

The early total ahead of the runoff could signal heavy turnout in the nationally watched race, which many see as an early barometer of President Donald Trump's influence.

While the average turnout during off-year special elections is notoriously low, Georgia’s 6th District special election on April 18 (which decided who was in this month’s runoff) topped a respectable 37 percent — nearly 194,000 people voted. That’s a turnout that looks more like a midterm contest than a special election.

Another possibility is that voters already know who they want to vote for and are casting early ballots to get it over with.

The news comes as nearly 8,000 voters have now been added to voting rolls in the 6th District, after a federal judge extended voter registration in the district through May 21 as part of an ongoing lawsuit over how Georgia handles voter registration ahead of federal runoff elections.

How to vote: You must be a registered voter, live in the 6th District and visit an early voting location in your home county of Cobb CountyDeKalb County or Fulton County. Early voting locations are open on weekdays, except for one day of Saturday voting on Saturday, June. 10.

RELATED: DeKalb County is punching above its weight in early Georgia 6th District voting