More than 125K cast ballots as Georgia shatters its first-day, early voting record

Georgia’s nationally watched 2022 midterm elections will be held Nov. 8
First day of early voting underway in Georgia
First day of early voting underway in Georgia
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 10:59 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 12:54 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - More than 125,000 Georgians voted on the first day of early voting on Monday, shattering the state’s previous record of 72,000 from 2018.

Gabe Sterling, the Georgia Secretary of State’s chief operating officer, confirmed the numbers late Monday night on Twitter:

Mark Rountree, president of Landmark Communications, said 42% of those who voted Oct. 17 throughout the state were Black.

The biggest races on the ballot this year are for governor and U.S. senator. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp continues leading Democrat Stacey Abrams in most polls, but Abrams is hoping for a strong performance in their two debates as well as a late surge of momentum.

Kemp and Abrams met in the first of their two scheduled debates Monday night. Abrams was joined by First Lady Jill Biden on Friday during an Atlanta campaign event. Former U.S. senator Kelly Loeffler joined Atlanta Young Republicans on Saturday for a day of support for Kemp, who is seeking reelection to another four-year term.

A new Landmark poll released Tuesday showed Kemp with a 51% to 45% lead over Abrams.

Georgia’s Senate race has national implications, as the winner could determine whether Republicans or Democrats will control the world’s oldest deliberative body. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock - elected in his own right less than two years ago in a special election - is running for his first, full six-year Senate term. UGA football legend Herschel Walker is seeking to unseat Warnock in a race that has turned ugly and deeply personal over the last two weeks.

Landmark’s poll showed Walker and Warnock in a dead heat with each polling at 46%.

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Here’s what you need to know about early voting in Georgia:

State law requires local elections officials to allow early in-person voting beginning on the fourth Monday prior to a primary or election, and as soon as possible prior to the runoff.

Early voting ends on the Friday immediately prior to Election Day which, this year, is Nov. 8.

Early voting takes place Monday through Friday, and the second and third Saturdays before Election Day. Some polling locations may be open on the second and third Sundays. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office advises to be sure and verify available dates and polling hours with your early voting precinct.

Dates, deadlines to remember for Georgia’s 2022 elections

During early voting, polls are typically open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Exact hours may vary.

The Secretary of State’s website has key dates for the current election cycle.

Local elections officials may allow early voting beyond regular weekday business hours, but it’s up to the county.

Unlike Election Day, you do not have to vote at an assigned polling location during early voting. You may vote at any early voting location within your county.

Find available early voting locations by visiting the Secretary of State’s website and selecting your county of residence from the list.

You can also find available locations by logging into your My Voter Page and looking at your polling place information.

When you arrive at your early voting location, you’ll need to bring a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter identification card.

The polls offer audio ballots for voters who are blind or have low vision, and booths for voters in wheelchairs. If you need help with your ballot, you can ask a family member or friend to come with you to the polls and fill the ballot in with your choices.