For those who believe higher turnout generally leads to more positive outcomes for Democrats, there are bright signs in Georgia, where early voting in the midterms has started.
Turnout in Georgia is surging to levels far beyond those seen in 2018, when midterm elections were last held — without the pressure of a pandemic leading more voters to cast their ballots by mail. Through Saturday, the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says 740,615 people voted early and in-person. Through the same point of the early voting period in 2018, only 428,413 people had done so. A full 79,682 people voted early and in-person on Saturday. Data from TargetSmart suggests more Dems have voted early than Republicans, the latter of whom could be hesitating in greater number thanks to the years of lies about the security of the U.S. elections process from GOP politicians. As of Friday afternoon, they estimated 52.1 percent of the ballots in person and through mail were from Dem voters, with 41 percent from Republicans and 6.9 percent from unaffiliated Georgians. Estimates from 2018 had Republicans nine percent ahead of Dems with early votes as of the same point.
The trend flipped in 2020, when Dems were about 4.8 percent ahead as of this point, per TargetSmart’s calculations. Republican voters ended up casting more early and mail-in votes overall, however, according to the data, which relies in part on internal modeling by the firm. In Georgia, two high-profile races are currently unfolding, including the race for governor and Senate. The Georgia governor’s race currently has incumbent Republican Brian Kemp running for a second time against Democratic challenger and former state legislative leader Stacey Abrams, while in the Senate race, Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is running for re-election against Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker, who has no experience in elected office and is a serial liar with a history of serious allegations of violence. Trump doesn’t support Kemp, who is doing better in polling than Walker. The Republican Senate candidate didn’t even show up to a recently scheduled second debate in the Senate race, but Warnock still showed, and he broadly criticized the Republican with the opportunity provided.