Media Advisory: Runoff Early Voting Information
On Monday, the first mandatory state-wide day of Early Voting, Georgia voters are continuing record turnout levels. However, Early Voting differs from Election Day and Absentee-by-Mail in several ways. Here are answers to several frequently asked questions:
Turnout and Data
The Secretary of State’s Datahub is the best source of pre-election turnout data and analytics. More thorough analysis can be done by downloading the voter absentee files and voter history files posted on the Secretary of State’s website.
Voting In Runoffs
Under Georgia law, any eligible Georgia voter registered by November 7th may cast a ballot in the runoff election, regardless of their previous voting history. They do not need to have voted in the primary or general election in order to cast a ballot in the runoff election. They can elect to vote by in person early, on election day, or absentee by mail.
In-Person Absentee Ballot Request Forms
Under Georgia law, Early Voting is considered “Absentee In-Person” voting because by casting a ballot before Election Day, they are making themselves absent on Election Day. See OCGA 21-2-385. When a voter shows up to vote for Early Voting aka “Absentee In-Person” voting, they will fill out an “Application for In-Person Absentee Ballot.” This is the same form that has been used for Early Voting in previous elections. For this election, Fulton County is having voters fill out the form manually instead of pre-populating it from the voter registration system, which is leading to increased questions about the title of the form. Filling out an “Application for In-Person Absentee Ballot” when a voter goes to early vote is the normal process. It results in that voter being granted access to go vote early; it does not result in that voter receiving an absentee by mail ballot.
Early Voting Locations
During Early Voting, voters may vote at any Early Voting location within their county. These locations are often different than the precincts assigned to them on Election Day. Voters have the flexibility to choose any location during the Early Voting period, but those dates and hours often differ from location to location. Voters should check both My Voter Page or their county election office website to confirm those details prior to casting a ballot.
Wait times have been short statewide, but some metro area Early Voting locations will have longer lines on higher turnout days such as the first day of Early Voting and the last few days of Early Voting. Most metro counties offer more than one early voting location and wait times are often shorter at other locations in the county. Some counties are reporting their wait times in real time so that voters can choose the location with the shortest wait.