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Early voting opens across Georgia for Senate runoff after busy weekend

Nov. 28, 2022 Updated Mon., Nov. 28, 2022 at 8:53 p.m.

People wave signs to encourage early voting near the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta during early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26.  (Steve Schaefer/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
People wave signs to encourage early voting near the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta during early voting on Saturday, Nov. 26. (Steve Schaefer/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
By Mark Niesse Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA – Early voting is available to every registered Georgia voter this week in the runoff for U.S. Senate after 157,000 people already went to the polls during the weekend.

Voting locations are open in all 159 counties from Monday through Friday before election day next week in the race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

Turnout was high in the 34 counties that offered early voting on Saturday or Sunday, according to state election data.

Over 70,000 people voted on Saturday after Georgia courts ruled that state law allowed county governments to offer voting following state holidays. Then on Sunday, 87,000 more people participated.

Among the counties that provided weekend voting, 18 of them supported Warnock and 16 backed Walker in the general election earlier this month. Warnock received 62% of the total vote in those counties in the initial election. A runoff is required because neither candidate won more than 50% of votes cast across Georgia.

More people voted last weekend than in the previous U.S. Senate runoffs two years ago, when four days of weekend voting were available. Turnout on those days ranged from 15,600 to 64,500.

Early voting is more limited this year because the Georgia General Assembly passed a voting law last year that shortened the period between general and runoff elections, from nine weeks to four. The compressed timeline left five mandatory statewide days of early voting compared to 16 in the last Senate runoffs.

Overall, 181,600 people have already voted either at in-person early voting locations or by mailing absentee ballots.

Turnout is expected to rapidly increase in the final eight days of the election. By the time polls closed in Senate runoffs two years ago, turnout reached 4 million voters.

Voters can find voting locations and hours through the state’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. Neighborhood precincts will be open on election day Dec. 6.

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