Georgia sets new early voting record for Senate runoffs

168,000 Georgia residents went to the polls on the first day to vote early in-person

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As early voting began for the runoff elections in Georgia, more voters took to the polls on the first day than the kickoff of early voting during the November presidential election.

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According to The Hill, approximately 168,000 Georgians cast their votes on Monday which broke the record for the early votes cast before the presidential election back in October. Additionally, 314,000 people cast absentee ballots on the same day. In the early fall, 128,000 voted on the first day of early voting. The outlet reported the numbers increased as the pivotal Senate election date nears.

As of Friday, more than 1.1 million people had voted in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections, and 24,000 people who did not vote in the November general election have cast ballots in the runoff. As theGrio reported, Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who has continued to fight voter suppression said the race would be a “competitive, hard fight” even after the state flipped blue in the presidential election for the first time in decades.

“This is going to be the determining factor of whether we have access to health care and access to justice in the United States,” she said. “Those are two issues that will make certain people will turn out,” Abrams said, according to the report.

A sign in an Atlanta neighborhood on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, urges people to vote early in Georgia’s two U.S. Senate races. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy)

In the initial election, neither Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue nor their opponents’ Democratic contenders Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, earned over 50% of the vote which was needed to win. According to theGrio, Warnock received 32.9 percent of the vote against Loeffler, who got 26%. Ossoff earned 47.8 % while Perdue garnered 49.8%.

Although Perdue earned more votes than Ossoff, the Democratic candidate believes this more focused race can have a different outcome.

“I got more votes than any Georgia Democrat running statewide in the history of this state,” Ossoff said to CBS News. “What’s happening in Georgia right now is special, and folks wouldn’t have believed it ten years ago — that you’ve got the young, Jewish son of an immigrant, mentored by Congressman John Lewis, running alongside a Black preacher who holds Dr. King’s pulpit at Ebenezer Church as the standard-bearers in these two Senate races to control the Senate running in the most competitive state in the country.”

Celebrities and public figures native to Georgia have mobilized to encourage voters to exercise their rights in the runoff race. As theGrio reported, Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz launched a Tesla giveaway in collaboration with voter advocacy groups to hopefully push people to the polls.

Singer Monica and rapper Ludacris performed during the Rock the Runoff virtual concert produced by Fair Fight and Abrams. John Legend, Common, Justin Timberlake, Jermaine Dupri, and rap duo Earthgang, also took the digital stage.

Read More: Like the Electoral College, Georgia’s runoff system is historically racist

“As we approach the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia, we must meet voters and supporters where they are; and reiterate how critical these elections are to the future of our nation,” said Abrams, according to the report. “The issues that are vital to the survival of our communities are on the ballot in January. Georgia has proven its ability to turn out the multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-generational coalition needed to win, and we are poised to do it again on Jan. 5.”

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