Georgians head to the polls as early voting begins Monday

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

At least 17 days of in-person early voting offered statewide

Polls open across Georgia today for the start of early voting, the most popular way of casting a ballot as total turnout could reach record levels for a midterm election with more than 4 million voters expected.

In-person early voting lasts three weeks leading up to Election Day on Nov. 8, with voting locations required to open on every weekday and two Saturdays. Some counties are also offering early voting opportunities on Sundays.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he hopes there will be few lines, a smooth voting experience and high voter participation during the period.

“The earlier you can vote during early voting, the better, because we are expecting really strong turnout,” Raffensperger said. “If you’re driving around the neighborhood and find out there’s an early voting location and no one is there, just take the 10 minutes and go ahead and vote. You’ll be glad you did.”

ExploreAJC vote tracker: 2022 absentee and early voting turnout

Turnout in the last midterm election four years ago approached 4 million voters, and over 5 million ballots were cast in the 2020 presidential election. Raffensperger said he anticipates turnout this year to fall somewhere in between.

Under Georgia’s voting law passed last year, every county is required to offer early voting on both Saturdays during the early voting period, on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. Previously, only one Saturday was mandated, but some counties provided a second Saturday.

The final days of early voting are always the busiest, so election officials and voting rights advocates are urging Georgians to avoid lines and show up beforehand.

“We want an absolute record turnout on Oct. 17, the first day of early voting, because that would send a major message across the state of Georgia and motivate others who did not vote,” said Bishop Reginald Jackson, who leads more than 500 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia.

ExploreEarly voting: How to find dates and locations for metro Atlanta counties

More than half of voters usually cast their ballots before Election Day in Georgia, either through in-person early voting or absentee voting. In-person early voters accounted for 54% of turnout in the 2020 presidential election and 48% of turnout in the 2018 midterms.

Nearly 217,000 voters had requested absentee ballots through Sunday, a slightly higher rate than at this point before the 2018 election but much lower than two years ago during the coronavirus pandemic. About 1.6 million voters had applied for absentee ballots at this point in 2020.

Each county’s early voting locations are open to all county residents. But on Election Day, voters must report to their neighborhood precincts.


Early voting in Georgia

Voters can find their early voting locations, Election Day precincts and sample ballots through Georgia’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Early voting locations will be open every weekday and two Saturdays in every county from Oct. 17 to Nov. 4. Some counties are offering early voting on Sundays.

Voters can also apply for absentee ballots until Oct. 28. Election Day is Nov. 8.