Georgians turn out in record numbers for first week of early voting

Georgians turn out in record numbers for first week of early voting
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2020, file photo, people wait in line to vote early at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. A surge in coronavirus cases is hitting key presidential battleground states a little more than two weeks before the November election. Voters in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere encountered hours-long lines that required congregating with hundreds of other people. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File) (Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA — Georgia voters turned out in record numbers just six days into early voting for the 2020 election.

Ballots Cast as of 8 pm on October 18, 2020

Total Number of Ballots Cast: 1,482,432

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Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast Today: 31,767

Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 819,406

Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 663,026

Ballots Cast as of Close of Polls on October 23, 2016

Total Number of Ballots Cast: 578,147

Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 490,147

Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 88,000

Percent Increases*:

Percentage Increase in Total Turnout to Date: 156%

Percentage Increase in Total Early, In-Person Turnout to Date: 67.2%

Percentage Increase in Absentee By Mail Ballots Accepted to Date: 653.4%

*Percentage Increases Compare Close of Polls Data for the 7th Day of Early Voting in 2020 and 2016

Ballots Cast as of 9 p.m. on October 17, 2020

Total Number of Ballots Cast: 1,437,403

Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast As of 9 p.m. Today: 63,723

Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 782,545

Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 654,858

Ballots Cast as of Close of Polls on October 23, 2016

Total Number of Ballots Cast: 578,147

Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 490,147

Total Number of Absentee By Mail Ballots Cast: 88,000

Percent Increases*:

Percentage Increase in Total Turnout to Date: 149%

Percentage Increase in Total Early, In-Person Turnout to Date: 59.7%

Percentage Increase in Absentee By Mail Ballots Accepted to Date: 644%

*Percentage Increases Compare Close of Polls Data for the 6th Day of Early Voting in 2020 and 2016

As of noon on October 17, the total number of ballots cast for the 2020 election was 1,373,208.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State, that is a 134% increase in early voting during the same time period leading up to the 2016 election.

Of the ballots cast, 635,844 were absentee ballots cast by mail and 737,364 ballots were cast in person.

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The in-person turnout for the first 5 days of early voting increased 47% compared to 2016. Absentee by mail votes increased 615%.

“Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record primary turnout in 2020, with over 1.1 million absentee by-mail voters and over 1.2 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news release.

Saturday was the first day of weekend early voting.

Channel 2′s Christian Jennings talked to Russell Wheeler, who wanted to make sure he beat the crowds. Wheeler grabbed a cup of coffee and a chair and hopped on MARTA before 7 a.m. to make sure he secured the first spot in line at State Farm Arena.

“I just had to come vote, to make a difference, you know," Wheeler said. “So seeing the large turnout, it’s good.”

Ron Bowers said he’s voted in every election since he turned 18, but this is the first time he’s taken advantage of early voting.

“Usually I go to the polls on the polling day, you know?" Bowers said. "I thought about doing absentee voting. But this time, I thought it was too important. I wanted to come down here and do it in person.”

Do big early voting numbers favor one party over the other?