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Georgians have early-voted in unusually high numbers this runoff season, with nearly 356,000 casting their ballots in the first two days of in-person voting.
Through Tuesday, 715,048 Georgians voted in the Jan. 5 runoff.
That’s 12% lower than at this point in the general election. Two days into early voting in the general election, 816,242 had voted, according to data from the Georgia secretary of state.
Still, runoff elections are known for a lower turnout than the general, especially without a president on the ballot. With nearly three weeks left until Election Day, voter turnout was already 38% of the total turnout in the last Senate runoff of 2008.
So far, 1,576,418 Georgians have applied to vote by mail in the runoff, and nearly 1.2 million of the ballots have not yet been returned. At this point in the general, 1,619,847 had applied to vote by mail. So far 379,087 mail votes have been returned and 335,961 have voted in person.
Mail votes returned are 31% behind what they were in the general election at this point and early voting is 27% ahead of what it was.
Through Tuesday, 1,375 absentee ballots have been rejected for signature issues.
Voter breakdown by race shows that White people account for 54.2% of votes so far and Black voters make up 32.9%. Hispanics account for 1.7% and Asians account for 2%, while others, including those of two or more races, account for 9.3%.
Black Georgians make up 32.9% of the population and Whites make up 60.2%, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.
Georgia’s high early voting numbers could be the result of a nationwide campaign on both sides of the aisle to emphasize what’s at stake– control of the upper chamber. It could also just be a reflection of a population explosion in Georgia– one million new voters have taken up residence in the state in the last four years.
A combination of new voters and expanded mail-in voting helped President-elect Joe Biden to win the Peach State, the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Sen. David Perdue, a Republican, is facing off against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue, a former Fortune 500 CEO, beat the media executive who’s nearly half his age in the November election by nearly 90,000 votes, but failed to capture a plurality.
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Under Georgia’s unusual election laws, major parties do not need to choose one candidate.
Twenty candidates ran in the race for Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat. Loeffler trailed Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock by nearly 344,000 votes but was sharing votes with Republican frontrunner Rep. Doug Collins. In total, all Republicans in the race earned about 47,800 more votes than Democrats combined, without factoring in third-party votes.
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