On election day, officials expect strong turnout in the final race for Senate between Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
The large number of election day voting locations Tuesday — over 2,400 across Georgia — could prevent long lines unless voters overwhelm their local precincts. Voting went smoothly last month, with 1.5 million voters on election day and a total turnout of nearly 4 million.
Turnout is usually lower in runoffs than during general elections. In the last Senate runoffs two years ago, 4.5 million people participated compared to 5 million in the presidential election.
Because Georgia’s voting law passed last year shortened the runoff period, early voters were crammed into fewer days. The law scheduled runoff day four weeks after the general election, a change from the nine-week gap in previous runoffs.
Some of the longest lines were in Fulton County, which also has the state’s highest number of voters, spread across 24 early voting locations. There were 16 early polling places in DeKalb, 12 in Cobb, and 11 in Gwinnett.
Every Georgia county was required to offer five weekdays of early voting, but state law allowed counties to begin voting sooner. Thirty-four of Georgia’s 159 counties opted to begin voting last week.
After state courts upheld the ability for counties to open polling places the Saturday after Thanksgiving, over 70,000 people voted that day. Another 87,000 voters cast ballots last Sunday.
While no ballots have been counted yet, more people have voted in counties that supported Warnock than Walker, according to state election data. But Republicans outnumbered Democrats on election day in last month’s election.
During the general election, Warnock won 54% of early and absentee votes, while Walker received 56% of election-day votes.
The quick runoff left little time for voters to receive and return absentee ballots, which will be counted if they’re delivered to county election offices before polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The absentee ballot return deadline is Friday for military and overseas voters, as well as for Cobb County voters because of delays in mailing ballots to those who requested them by Nov. 26.
Over 136,000 absentee ballots have been returned to county election offices so far, and 82,000 ballots are still pending.
Georgians can find voting locations and sample ballots through the state’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov.