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Fewer Georgia early voters this year than in 2008

8:04 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • Long lines on last day of early voting for Georgia's 2012 General Election
  • Long lines on last day of early voting for Georgia's 2012 General Election
  • Long lines on last day of early voting for Georgia's 2012 General Election
  • Long lines on last day of early voting for Georgia's 2012 General Election
    

ATLANTA - There's been a lot of talk this year about whether voters are as enthusiastic as they were four years ago and whether Republicans or Democrats may have the edge.

Georgia's early voting numbers give a glimpse, but the comparison is not as easy as you might think.

Early voting lines, some lasting hours, show some enthusiasm, of course, but many are not as long as some of the 2008 lines.

On this last day of early voting (which isn't counted yet) the Georgia Secretary of State's Office provided these comparison numbers so far:

In 2008, the number of Georgians who either voted early in person or returned early mail-in ballots was 2,084,179.

That compares with 1,475,272 in 2012's General Election early voting, minus the final day, which won't be tabulated until after polls close at 7 pm.

Some say this year's lower number is because there was more enthusiasm in 2008 since many Americans were voting for the country's first African-American President.

"Two-thousand-eight in many respects is just a very, very exciting time, an important time in American politics," said Georgia State University Associate Professor of Political Science Sean Richey.

"Two-thousand-twelve also is important, but certainly it doesn't have quite the historic nature that 2008 seemed to have," he told 11 Alive News.

But it's hard to do a direct comparison between early voting in Georgia in 2008 and 2012.

That's because of the time people had to vote.

Georgians had less than half as many early voting days this time around with 21 this year compared to 45 in 2008.

"Even though about half the time, we have more than half the numbers of early voters, so perhaps you could say at a daily rate, we're actually at a higher number," Professor Richey added.

If the daily trend holds, Friday's final early voting could add between 100,000 and 200,000 to this year's total, if not even more.

But that could still mean 2012 numbers fall short of 2008.

Of course, we won't know exact numbers until after next Tuesday's election when all votes are in and can be compared.

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