Data available Saturday appears to indicate early voting across Georgia hit a new single-day turnout record on Friday as the state hurtles towards Election Day in the Senate runoff race between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker.
Although the figures could be further adjusted as the numbers are clarified, a data hub maintained by the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed nearly 353,000 votes cast in-person around Georgia on Friday — tens of thousands ahead of totals from earlier in the work week that Raffensperger’s team already hailed as the biggest single-day turnout levels ever. The total number of ballots cast at in-person early polling places passed 1.7 million after Friday, which was the last day early voting at a polling place would be available. About 140,000 absentee ballots were also already completed and accepted as of Saturday, according to Raffensperger’s data. The overall total of ballots cast is still evidently lower than the totals cast at this point before Election Day in the November races and in those held in years past, because voting wasn’t as long.
Polling, however, suggests Warnock is in a good position, with figures from pollsters highly regarded for their accuracy showing the incumbent in the lead. Former President Barack Obama also recently made another campaign appearance in Georgia on Warnock’s behalf, where — besides uplifting the Democrat — Obama characterized Walker as straightforwardly unfit for the job. A political analytics firm known as TargetSmart estimates that Democratic voters comprise nearly 52 percent of the total of runoff ballots cast so far — which could be a good sign, since CNN polling found nearly universal support for Warnock among Democrats. TargetSmart says most voters participating so far are 50 to 64, among whom Democrats also lead. The TargetSmart estimate of the share of the overall vote from Georgians aligned with the Democratic Party puts Dems ahead of their shares seen both in November and in several past elections. Warnock already won a higher share in the first round, but the race went to a runoff because neither candidate passed 50 percent. Now, just Warnock and Walker are on the ballot.