Georgia has broken its record for the most ballots cast in one day during early voting, with just one week until a pivotal runoff in the state’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
On Monday, over 239,160 Georgians cast their ballot, according to Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling. This beats the previous record for early voting in one day of over 233,252 votes in 2018. Sterling tweeted Monday afternoon that they’ll “break a quarter million voters today.”
“We’re excited,” Sterling told CBS News. “It’s a testament to voters and poll workers and poll managers across the state to pull this off. It’s not easy to move a quarter of a million people.”
Over the holiday weekend, where some counties were able to conduct early voting after Georgia Democrats sued, over 180,000 votes were cast. That was about 2.6% of the total active voter base in Georgia.
According to data from Georgia’s Secretary of State office, 46% of that weekend’s voters were Black and 57% were female.
Early voter turnout for the runoff has been highest in several Democratic leaning counties around Atlanta such as Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb County.
In the Nov. 8 election, neither Warnock nor Walker surpassed the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff election. Warnock won 49.4% of the vote and Walker got 48.5% of the vote. While Democrats have secured the majority in the Senate, a Warnock win would give the party more space to pass their agenda and put an end to current power sharing of committees.
On Sunday, Warnock waited in line for about an hour to vote early in Atlanta.
“I needed a moment,” he told reporters after he voted. “I’ve now had the chance, the opportunity to vote for myself [for] the Senate five times. America is a great country. And I look forward to doing everything I can to strengthen our great country.”
Early voters in Smyrna, Georgia, on Monday told CBS News that their wait times were about 30 minutes and that they found the early voting period more convenient for their schedules. With this being the second cycle in a row where the state’s senate race heads to a runoff, some voters acknowledged a sense of “voter fatigue.”
“We want to get it right. The way this country goes is so important to us. So here we are,” said Susan King, who did not say who she was voting for. “And this is not the first time all eyes have been on Georgia, that was the case last time as well, as you might remember. So we’re used to it.”
“I would like the commercials to stop and life to get back to regular. Like, geez, can we get it done this time! But if I have to come back out again, I will,” said Victoria Robinson, a Warnock supporter.
Walker supporter Robert Beasley also said he was willing to turn out as often as it took.
“It’s something you need to do now and I enjoy doing it,” Beasley said.
Monday is the last day to request a mail ballot for the Dec. 6 runoff. Early voting in Georgia ends Friday, Dec. 2.