Latest Georgia Early Voting Numbers Have Democrats Cheering

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Early voting data from the Georgia Senate run-off elections reveals an apparent high level of enthusiasm in the lead-up to Election Day, which is January 5. The Senate elections in Georgia will determine control of the chamber, because if Democrats win both races, then the Senate will be 50-50 — but vice presidents break ties, and the next vice president will be Kamala Harris. As of early Thursday, about 914,000 Georgians had already voted early in the Senate elections. On Tuesday alone, about 167,000 Georgians cast their ballots, which was about the same level of early voting as the first day of early voting, which opened on Monday. In terms of which party members were casting these ballots, Democrats led on both day one and day two of early voting for the Senate elections.

Back in October, when early voting opened in Georgia for the general election, turnout was significantly lower on the first two days. On the second day of early voting in October, only about 129,000 Georgians cast their ballots, The New York Times‘s Nate Cohn shares. Cohn suggests that conclusive predictions about the final outcome of the Senate races based on initial early voting numbers are difficult. Apparently, about 98 percent of the earliest early voters from the first two days turned out for the general election, meaning that the initial surge didn’t reflect a surge of new voters. President-elect Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia by about 12,000 votes, so the Senate races could be close, and every slight shift in the electorate could make a potentially seismic difference.

Biden himself recently campaigned in Georgia on behalf of the state’s two Democratic Senate candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who are running against incumbent Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. Biden harshly criticized Loeffler and Perdue for their support of a lawsuit in which Texas and numerous allies sought the invalidation of the election outcome in four states where Biden won, including Georgia. Biden mockingly suggested to the crowd of Georgians that maybe Loeffler and Perdue “were just confused” and “think they represent Texas.” In sharp contrast, Biden noted that Warnock and Ossoff “won’t put Donald Trump first” and “won’t put themselves first, either.” Instead, “They’ll put you first, the people of Georgia,” Biden told the crowd.

Control of the Senate could have significant ramifications for the next two years. Democratic leadership in the chamber could mean an easier path for Democratic legislative agenda items like expanded healthcare and critical COVID-19 relief for people across America.