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State sees record early voting turnout, including nearly 500% increase in Gwinnett from 2016

The Secretary of State's office said 126,854 people cast ballots yesterday.

ATLANTA — Long lines, motivated voters and some minor glitches are what most encountered on Monday, the first day for in-person early voting for the November General Election

The numbers don't lie. The Secretary of State's office said 128,590 people cast ballots yesterday, a record for the first day of early voting in the state. Monday's high turnout surpassed the nearly 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016. 

Gwinnett County alone saw a 484% increase from the first day of early voting in 2016 (1,490 votes).

The counties with the highest turnout were Fulton (68,170), DeKalb (61,824), Cobb (57,924), Gwinnett (26,940) and Cherokee (18,132). 

Those numbers are on top of the nearly 500,000 mail-in ballots that have already been returned statewide, the Secretary of State's office said. As of this morning, there were still more than 1.1 million mail-in ballots outstanding. 

“Record early, in-person voting capped off an already unprecedented election cycle,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “On our successful first day of early in person voting, we saw almost 130,000 people cast their ballots, mirroring the enthusiasm surges we saw in almost every other state that has started early voting for November.”

Election officials and many advocacy groups have encouraged people to vote early due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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The Secretary of State’s office told 11Alive yesterday that “Georgia is seeing record turnout for early voting because of excitement and enthusiasm of the upcoming election. Long lines are to be expected—voters need to be aware of all of their options including three weeks of early voting, no-excuse absentee and in-person voting day of the election.”

At State Farm Arena, Fulton County’s largest precinct for early voting, a "small technical glitch" prevented people from voting but it was resolved by mid-morning. The issue was with the polling pad system used to check voters in, they said.

Douglas County elections officials told 11Alive that they are adding an additional early voting location to help the volume of voters in that county. Along with the original location at the courthouse, the Woodie Fite Senior Center is now an early voting location. 

On Tuesday evening, Gwinnett officials said they will add two additional check-in tables and five more ballot marking stations at the elections headquarters early voting site. They said they'll continue to explore ways to reduce lines, while also maintaining social distancing due to the pandemic. 

People can continue to vote early in person through Oct. 30. While voters must vote at their assigned polling place on Election Day, they can vote at any open polling place in the county where they live during early voting.

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