Nearly 2.1 million Georgians have cast their votes through early in-person voting or absentee voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election taking place January 5, according to data provided by the state on Thursday.
The number represents more than a quarter of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters, and, as measured by the Georgia Votes tracking website, it trails the turnout at this point in the November 3 general election by just seven percent, or about 148,000 votes.
Of the 2.1 million votes accepted thus far, 1.3 million were cast via early in-person voting, which began December 14, and the remaining approximately 722,000 were cast via mailed-in ballots.
In the general election, a record-breaking five million votes were cast overall, and four million of those were done early.
Voter turnout is expected to again be high for the runoffs as they will determine the balance of power in the Senate. The Democrat candidates, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, need a dual victory over Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for Republicans to lose their Senate majority.
Big-name surrogates from both parties have been flocking the state to campaign for their respective candidates, emphasizing to constituents the high stakes of the election and imploring Georgians to participate in voting.
President Donald Trump rallied in the state on December 5, telling a crowd of thousands that the upcoming race was “the most important congressional runoff probably in American history.” Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump echoed their father’s words during their own rallies later in the month, and Vice President Mike Pence, likewise, has made multiple stops in the Peach State to urge Republicans to vote.
Both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also made appearances in Georgia this month, campaigning at drive-in rallies for the Democrat candidates. Biden, who was joined at his rally by Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and activist Stacey Abrams, told attendees listening from their cars, “Send me these two men, and we will control the Senate, and we will change the lives of the people in Georgia.”
Biden narrowly defeated Trump in the historically red state by about 12,000 votes, although Trump still has a lawsuit pending with Fulton County Superior Court alleging mass voter fraud occurred in the election.
An analysis of note, given the state’s contentious battleground status, comes from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which found that nearly 76,000 new voters registered in Georgia after the October 5 general election deadline but before the December 7 runoff deadline. They represent individuals who have just moved to the state or just turned 18 — none have voted in the state before and all are now on the voter rolls and eligible to vote in the runoffs.
Early in-person voting will continue through December 30, and a select few polling locations will stay open through December 31. Voters can request absentee ballots through January 1, but ballots must be mailed in and received by the state’s 7:00 p.m. deadline on January 5.