Turnout soars on the first day of early voting in Georgia

Voters across Georgia rushed to the polls on the first day of in-person early voting Monday, with 69,049 people casting their ballots.

That's a sharp increase from the last midterm election in 2014, when 20,898 people showed up on the first day of in-person early voting, according to numbers from the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.

Some early voters in Cobb County had to wait in lines for more than two hours, and others in Fulton County encountered delays because of technical difficulties.

But early voting has become increasingly popular in Georgia because it allows voters to decide what day they want to cast their ballots, and they can avoid lines if they arrive during low-traffic times.

About 58 percent of voters cast early ballots during the 2016 presidential election, and 37 percent voted in advance in 2014.

When mailed-in ballots are added to in-person early votes, a total of 129,458 Georgians had already voted through Monday in advance of the Nov. 6 general election, which features the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp.

At the same point in the midterm election cycle four years ago, just 46,086 people had voted, according to georgiavotes.com.

In-person early voting is available in all of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Early voting lasts until Nov. 2 and includes at least one Saturday statewide, on Oct. 27. Some counties have additional voting times available on weekends.