ATLANTA, Ga -- More than 2,180,000 votes have been cast in Georgia through advance and early voting, smashing the state’s previous record set in 2008.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the total will continue to climb through the end of Friday, when early and advance voting ended. Georgia’s previous record was 2,129,316.
Fulton County leads the state in ballots cast, with 233,571. That is 65,115 more than DeKalb, coming in second at 168,456. Gwinnett is third, with 144,679, followed by Cobb’s 138,737 and Forsyth’s 65,157.
“What’s telling is that, in terms of early voters, Fulton and DeKalb are far ahead of their early voting numbers from the last election,” said Emory professor of political science Alan Abramowitz. “If early voting is an indicator of actual turnout, it could mean we’ll see a high turnout from Georgia’s two most heavily Democratic counties.
Kemp said 166,875 mail-in absentee ballots and 2,013,132 advance in-person ballots have been cast in Nov. 8 election.
Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves told 11Alive’s Matt Pearl that early voting is here in Georgia to stay.
“It’s easier; it’s accessible, and much of our active voting base have early voted,” Eaves said. “We’re ecstatic. We are breaking records set back in 2008 and 2012.”
Early voting “means everyone’s involved and passionate,” said Fulton voter Lisa Bonner. Another Fulton voter, Bryan Rogers, said, “There’s a lot of stuff for Atlanta that’s on the ballot that I really wanted to be a part of voting for. “I just wanted to make sure that my voice is heard.”
At a Friday morning Democratic Party of Georgia leadership meeting, executive director Rebecca DeHart said her party has sent out more than 472,000 absentee ballot request forms, the most in party history.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, was also in attendance, and said high early voting numbers are a positive indicator for Democratic candidates.
“Early voting numbers mean our demographics are turning out,” Lewis said, “including lots of young, millennial voters.”
After the breakfast, prominent party officials, including Lewis, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Atlanta) and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter kicked off a road trip to promote the party’s candidates, including Jim Barksdale, who is trailing his opponent, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, in virtually every poll.
A total of 1,945,763 people have advance voted in person, according to Kemp. Henry, Cherokee, Clayton, Paulding and Fayette counties round out the top 10.
Polls will be open on Election Day from 7 am to 7 pm. Georgia has more than 6.6 million registered voters.