Early voting in the Georgia Senate runoffs is breaking records — and Democrats have reasons for hope in the numbers.
More than 2.3 million people have voted as of Tuesday morning through mail-in ballots or in-person early voting for the two races, already topping the record for the most votes in a Georgia runoff election.
Democrats are buoyed by the strong early vote numbers, which show Black voters making up a larger percentage of the electorate than in November and higher early turnout in Democratic congressional districts in the state. Both are positive signs for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two challengers, easing fears that the typical voter dropoff that has plagued Democrats in past years would doom the party’s chances with control of the Senate on the line.
Meanwhile, early-vote turnout has lagged in Republican-held congressional districts, likely leaving GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue with a larger deficit heading into Election Day than they had to make up on Nov. 3, with early voting concluding this week leading up to the New Year’s holiday.
Both parties have been closely tracking the in-person and absentee ballots that have already been submitted, looking for data on the state of the races after the extremely close contests in November and with less than a week left to tweak get-out-the-vote and advertising strategies for next Tuesday’s vote.
While the early-vote figures provide some comfort to Democrats, they are hardly predictive: Republican officials have always anticipated needing to overperform on Election Day compared with Democrats. GOP voters have long preferred casting ballots in person and on the day of the election, but the partisan differences in voting became even more acute after President Donald Trump spent much of the year criticizing voting by mail and attacking the administration of Georgia’s November election.
At the very least, though, the strong Democratic performance so far puts extra pressure on Republicans to perform on Election Day. The two Republican senators are relying on Trump to juice turnout next week: The president is holding his final rally of the election cycle on Monday night in one of the most Republican-heavy corners of the state, an effort to…
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