Turnout For Georgia Runoff Smashes Records As Democrats Celebrate

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Turnout for early in-person voting for the ongoing Georgia Senate runoff election is remaining high — and significantly beyond single-day levels seen in past years.

At least 300,588 Georgians cast their ballots early and in-person across the state on Tuesday, seemingly second only to the one-day total seen the prior day that was a few thousand higher. Although turnout seems to have slightly dropped on Wednesday, the overall total of ballots already cast early and in-person easily grew past a million, including nearly 125,000 in Fulton County alone, where baseless challenges to the integrity of the state’s results have often focused. (Rudy Giuliani continues facing defamation litigation from two former election workers in the county who were subjects of some of his lies and subsequently faced harassment.) Democrats are also outperforming their share of the early vote seen at this point before Election Day in the November midterms and in the runoff election in 2021 that originally sent Raphael Warnock to the Senate. According to estimates from the political analytics firm TargetSmart, Democrats were at 54.1 percent of the early vote as of early Thursday.

The estimate doesn’t reflect the contents of votes, just an estimation of the partisan lean of those casting ballots. Even with hundreds of thousands of Georgians casting ballots and flying past single-day records set in prior years, the overall total of early votes cast still remains lower than past elections, as early voting only started for the runoff on a wide scale earlier this week. Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, is facing Trump ally Herschel Walker for a second time because neither of the candidates passed 50 percent in the election results from November 8, as legally required. This time, no independent or third-party candidates are appearing on the ballot, so somebody mathematically has to hit the needed level of support.

Walker has faced consistent criticism over his lies about his background. He has even tried to cast himself as having worked as a police officer or at least in law enforcement, even though there’s no apparent evidence of him ever holding a real position beyond what a former county district attorney compared to a “junior ranger badge.” Michelle and Barack Obama are both joining the effort to re-elect Warnock. The former First Lady has recorded a pair of robo-calls on the campaign’s behalf, encouraging voting both during the early voting period (ending Friday) and on Election Day, while the former president has a rally appearance set for the Atlanta area. Obama also stopped by the state before November 8. In the first round, Warnock got more votes overall, and some polling conducted ahead of the runoff election has also shown him leading. He has also passed Walker by tens of millions of dollars in total fundraising from individuals.