ATLANTA — Early voting kicked off in Georgia on Monday with the general election only 22 days away.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. in many locations across Georgia for early voting, which runs until Friday, Nov. 4. In addition, there are two mandatory days of Saturday voting on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.
Gabe Sterling with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office said that as of 4:15 p.m., more than 100,000 Georgians had cast their ballots early.
“This blows away the previous midterm first-day record of approximately 72,000, and we have lots of voting to go today,” Sterling said.
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If the May primary is any indication, interest is high in this year’s elections. According to the Secretary of State’s office, nearly 800,000 voted early, in-person during the primary. That’s compared to more than 326,000 in 2020 and just under 300,000 in 2018.
Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was at a polling location in Fulton County, where David Kolodkin was the first in line at the Dorothy Benson Senior Center in Sandy Springs.
“That was by accident,” Kolodkin said. “And actually thought there would be a lot of people in line.”
Linda Murrain also cast her ballot at the North Fulton Service Center on Roswell Road, her first time voting since she moved to Atlanta from Chicago.
“This is totally different than what we do in Illinois,” Murrain said. “The process worked seamlessly. It was so easy to follow and glad we were able to do it early, because we encourage everyone to come out early.”
Unlike Election Day, you do not have to vote at an assigned polling location during early voting. You may vote at any early voting location within your county. You will need to show one of seven forms of photo ID to vote in person.
Absentee voting is also now available. If you want to vote absentee, you must request a ballot online or by mail by Oct. 28. Then you need to return your ballot by mail or in a drop box by the time polls close on Election Day. According to the new law, drop boxes are located inside early voting locations.
Once again this election, the eyes of the nation are on Georgia and some crucial races.
Of course, there’s the gubernatorial election between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Shane Hazel.
Other state offices including lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and Georgia schools superintendent are also on the ballot.
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The balance of power in Congress is up for grabs. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is facing Republican Herschel Walker and Libertarian Chase Oliver for U.S. Senate race. All of Georgia’s 14 U.S. House seats are also at stake.
There are currently 221 Democrats in Congress, 212 Republicans and two vacancies. Every 10 years after the census, state legislatures redraw district lines.
The biggest changes Georgians will notice are in District 6, which used to include parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties. Now it includes parts of Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Political experts say the new boundaries make the sixth more favorable for Republicans.
Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath currently holds the seat in the sixth, but this year she’s running in District 7. The district used to include parts of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. Now, it includes parts of Fulton and Gwinnett counties. McBath defeated Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Boudreaux in the primary and now faces Republican Mark Gonsalves.
Georgia currently has eight Republicans and six Democrats in Congress. Republicans could pick up a seat with the changes in the sixth.
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