Turnout on first day of Georgia early voting breaks midterm record

Competitive elections drive voters to the polls

The first day of early voting in Georgia set a midterm turnout record, with over 133,000 in-person voters casting their ballots, an early sign of strong interest in this year’s elections.

Turnout on Monday far exceeded the last midterms in 2018, when about 71,000 people showed up at the start of early voting, according to state election data.

The fast start put Georgia on pace to surpass the 3.9 million voters who cast ballots four years ago, though turnout appears unlikely to reach the 5 million voters who participated in the 2020 presidential election.

In-person early voting is the most popular method of casting a ballot in Georgia, with voting locations open for three weeks before Election Day, including two Saturdays. Some counties also offer Sunday voting hours.

ExploreAJC vote tracker: Early and absentee voting in Georgia

Following political campaigns and voter mobilization efforts, Black voters especially turned out on Monday.

Black voters accounted for about 39% of Georgia’s early voters, higher than their 29% share of the state’s registered voters, according to an analysis of election data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nearly 50% of early voters were white, while Hispanic and Asian voters each made up about 1% of turnout. About 9% of voters didn’t provide their race or chose “other” when they registered to vote.

Turnout in midterm elections, with races for governor and the U.S. Senate on the ballot this year, is always lower than national elections for president. In the 2020 election, about 68% of Georgia’s voting-eligible population participated, according to the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida. Turnout was 54% of the eligible population in 2018.

Absentee ballots were also beginning to be returned after they began to be mailed to voters last week. About 11,000 absentee ballots had been returned through Monday out of 218,000 requested.

Voters can apply for absentee ballots until Oct. 28, and completed ballots must be received at county election offices before polls close on Election Day.

Voters can find their early voting locations, Election Day precincts, absentee ballot application forms and sample ballots on the My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov.