Georgia’s voters set the record for most ballots cast before Election Day in a midterm election, according to state election officials, debunking claims from top Democrats that the state’s election law would lead to voter suppression.
The Peach State’s Early Voting period ended Friday night with more than 2,288,889 ballots cast. Early Voting had begun on October 17.
When combing Early Voting and absentee ballots, Georgia exceeded 2.5 million votes cast before Election Day on Tuesday. More than 75% of absentee ballots have been returned to county election offices as of Friday.
A total of 2,504,956 ballots cast have already been cast in the state, just short of the 2.6 million votes in the 2020 Presidential Election.
“Georgia voters came out in near Presidential-level numbers,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.
“County election directors handled that demand with the utmost professionalism,” he continued. “They navigated a whole host of challenges and executed seamlessly. They deserve our highest praise.”
Turnout in the Early Voting period far outpaced the numbers from the 2018 midterm election, when 1.8 million Georgia voters cast their ballots.
The in-person voting total on Friday was 6% higher than the final day of Early Voting in 2020.
And since Georgia kicked off Early Voting three weeks ago, the state has seen record turnout, nearly doubling the number of ballots cast on the first day of Early Voting in 2018.
The record turnout comes after Democrats alleged that Georgia’s election integrity law, signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in spring 2021, would make it harder for Georgians, particularly minorities, to cast a ballot.
President Joe Biden earlier this year described the Election Integrity Act as “Jim Crow 2.0.” In October 201, the president similarly criticized the law as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
And Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has repeatedly claimed this year that high voter turnout and voter suppression can coexist. Abrams has been a vocal critic of the voter law since it was approved.
This criticism from Democrats led Major League Baseball to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.
Abrams, running to unseat Kemp, never formally conceded her 2018 race against the Republican, arguing that he suppressed the vote in his capacity as then-secretary of state.
Kemp leads Abrams 49% to 43% in a FOX News poll conducted last month,