Does early voting actually favor one political party over another?

ATLANTA — Less than one week in to early voting in Georgia and we’ve already seen long lines of people ready to have their vote counted.

According to Georgia’s Secretary of State office, when you combine in person and absentee voting, over 712,000 Georgians have already cast a ballot.

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With those numbers in mind, one of the biggest questions asked is: Which party benefits more from the early turnout?

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson asked the question to University of North Georgia political science professor Glen Smith who says early voting doesn’t necessarily favor one party over the other.

“It tends to be kind of overblown, whether one party does better in early voting,” Smith said.

[COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Where can I early vote in north Georgia?]

Smith says early turnout numbers aren’t necessarily a reliable way to see which direction an election could be leaning. He added that 2018 also set records for early turnout.

“Most of the scholarship on early voting is just they’re people that were going to vote anyway. So it’s just banking votes early,” said Smith.


In Georgia, a record number of absentee ballots are going out in large part due to the pandemic. Smith says it should favor Democrats, but he believes Republican voters won’t be far behind.

“My guess is Trump will do better and same day voting, Democrats are much more likely to say they’re going to be to vote absentee,” Smith said.

According to the non-partisan website, 22% of early voters this year didn’t vote at all in 2016 while the Secretary of State’s office data showed 61% of this years early voters voted early in the last presidential election.

Johnson spoke to some voters from a Northeast Atlanta voting location, who said they were ready to get it done.

“You’ve got most of the facts, anything that I need to know I know already for what I’m doing,” said one voter.

“I’ve already turned the commercials off in my brain and they’re gone for good,” said another.