ROSWELL, GA -- Data show huge increases in the number of early voters in Georgia's 6th congressional district runoff. Early voting started Tuesday.
It may just be the calendar. The special election June 20th falls hard within summer vacation season. Or it may have something to do with an election that is bright on the national radar.
The conventional wisdom is that off-year special elections draw casual-at-best turnout from voters. Tell that to the folks lined up at the East Roswell library at midday Thursday.
"I think we have so much anger in the country right now, I think early voters are here because they want their position heard," said early voter Jeanne Slagel.
9740 sixth congressional district voters showed up Tuesday and Wednesday for early runoff voting in Fulton County. Fulton election officials did not release comparable numbers for the same period in March, when early voting started for the April 18 special election.
Cobb County has a smaller percentage of 6th district voters. For the runoff so far this week, 1428 early voters in Cobb have cast ballots. That’s more than four times the 358 voters who cast ballots for the same race in March. In DeKalb, the jump is even greater. 4090 voters in DeKalb cast early runoff ballots this week – more than 18 times the 220 who voted in DeKalb during the same period in March.
"Turnout right now is incredible," Democrat Jon Ossoff noted when he met with supporters outside an early voting precinct in Chamblee Thursday. "Please make sure you're engaging your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues," he said.
And when she was with supporters in Roswell Monday, Republican Karen Handel likewise beseeched them to show up early. "Vote early!" she told attendees seated at a Memorial Day event.
The early voting trends may gauge interest in the race. The numbers do not forecast which of the two candidates is doing better. There’s 19 more days before the votes are counted.