Georgia voters set the record for most pre-election ballots cast in midterm elections, state election officials said, refuting claims by top Democrats that the state’s election law was leading to voter suppression.
The Peach State’s early voting period ended Friday night with more than 2,288,889 ballots cast. Early voting began on October 17.
Combining early voting and postal voting, Georgia surpassed 2.5 million votes cast ahead of Election Day on Tuesday. As of Friday, more than 75% of mail-in ballots had been returned to district election offices.
A total of 2,504,956 ballots have already been cast in the state, just short of the 2.6 million votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.
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“Georgia voters came in presidential-level numbers,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.
“The District Returning Officers handled this request with the utmost professionalism,” he continued. “They overcame quite a number of challenges and executed them smoothly. They deserve our highest praise.”
Early voting turnout far exceeded the 2018 midterm election turnout, when 1.8 million Georgia voters cast their ballots.
The total number of in-person votes on Friday was 6% higher than the last day of early voting in 2020.
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And since Georgia began early voting three weeks ago, the state has seen record turnout and almost doubled the number of ballots cast on the first day of early voting in 2018.
The record turnout comes after Democrats claimed that Georgia’s Election Integrity Law, signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in spring 2021, would make it harder for Georgians, particularly minorities, to cast a vote.
President Joe Biden earlier this year described the Election Integrity Act as “Jim Crow 2.0.” In October 201, the President similarly criticized the law as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century”.
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And Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has repeatedly argued this year that high turnout and voter suppression can coexist. Abrams has been a vocal critic of the Voter Law since its passage.
That criticism from Democrats prompted Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.
Abrams, who ran to unseat Kemp, never officially gave up her race against the Republican in 2018, arguing that he suppressed the vote in his capacity as then-Secretary of State.
Kemp leads Abrams 49% to 43% in a FOX News poll conducted last month.