Election Day is less than one month away, and many Georgians are ready to cast their votes. Channel 2′s Matt Johnson learned that a record number of Georgians are registered to vote.
“Just really hit me that I need to, like, you know, get out, go get out there and vote for this year,” James Stevens said.
Stevens registered when he turned 18 in August. The Roswell teenager is now one of the 7.6 million registered voters in Georgia. It’s the most ever in the state just in time for November’s election.
“It’s very empowering to see so many people like getting more politically active, especially during this year," Stevens said.
Over the past two years, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office said 600,000 new people registered. The state’s automatic registration at the Department of Driver Services registered 5 million people.
A quarter of registered voters signed up with a paper form, often through grassroots groups.
“Whenever you have such a polarizing figure like Donald Trump, you’re going to see more people get involved in politics,” Georgia State University professor Jeffrey Lazarus said.
“This is not going to hurt Republicans, this is only going to help us," said Christian Zimm, president of Buckhead Young Republicans. "People are so excited to get out and support this president. The enthusiasm is through the roof.”
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Record number of registered voters could also lead to a record turnout. Experts estimate there could be a 25% increase in turnout compared to 2016.
“This level of interest we see and people requesting absentee ballots suggests that and we may well hit that,” Lazarus said.
Johnson spoke with voter Katy Graves after she dropped off her absentee ballot in DeKalb County today. She’s worried Georgia will see a repeat of Election Day issues similar to ones during the summer primaries.
“I just want to make sure it was reported, accepted, and I could check back and make sure it was accepted, so my vote gets in there,” Graves said.
It is voters under 35 years old who make up a large part of the growing number of voters, according to state data. For Stevens, he said that means the future is in good hands.
“It makes me very proud of my state,” he said.