By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Early voting in Georgia ahead of the May 24 primaries is breaking records, defying the historical trend of lower turnouts in non-presidential election years.
Through Tuesday, 254,556 Georgians had taken advantage of the early voting period that began May 2 to cast their primary ballots, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reported Wednesday. The vast majority – 234,893 – voted in person, while the rest submitted absentee ballots.
Early voting is running 239% ahead of the same point in the early voting period leading up to the 2018 primaries and 160% above the same point prior to the 2020 primaries.
“The record early voting turnout is a testament to the security of the voting system and the hard work of our county election officials,” said Raffensperger, who was the target of unsubstantiated charges of lax ballot security leveled by then-President Donald Trump after Democrat Joe Biden carried Georgia in 2020.
“As secretary of state, I promised to strike a strong balance between access and security in our elections, and these numbers demonstrate that I kept that promise and that voters have confidence in Georgia’s elections.”
Raffensperger supported election law changes the Republican-controlled General Assembly enacted last year that replaced the signature-match verification process for absentee ballots with an ID requirement and restricted the location of ballot drop boxes.
Through Tuesday, 146,425 voters had cast Republican primary ballots, compared to 106,188 cast by Democrats.
The top of the Republican ballot includes a hotly contested race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination between incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.
University of Georgia football great Herschel Walker is on the GOP ballot for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, a nomination Walker is a strong favorite to win.
On the Democratic side, Stacey Abrams is unopposed in the gubernatorial primary, while Warnock drew only token opposition for the Democratic nomination to seek reelection to the Senate.
Primary voters have until this Friday to request an absentee ballot. Early voting will continue through Friday, May 20.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.