More than 1.8 million Georgians have voted early in the state’s Senate runoff election scheduled for December 6, including a record-high 353,000 voters on Friday, the final day of early voting.
The official numbers from the Secretary of State recorded 1,868,127 early voters. The total revealed that more than one million female voters voted early, according to the state’s statistics.
The number of early voters exceeded the total from the recent November midterms in Georgia, when about 1.5 million voters cast their ballot before Election Day.
Despite the high level of early voting, the total is still lower than in the 2020 presidential election, when approximately 2.5 million Georgia residents voted early. Midterm elections generally draw smaller numbers of voters, with the state reflecting lower numbers experienced nationwide between the 2020 and 2022 elections.
The previous 2021 Georgia Senate runoff that led to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s victory included 4.5 million voters. Warnock’s win resulted in a 50-50 tie in the Senate, giving Democrats the advantage as the vice president provides the tiebreaking vote.
This year, Warnock won 54% of early voting in November, with Republican hopeful Herschel Walker winning 56% of Election Day votes.
The Senate runoff was forced after no candidate won at least 50% of the vote last month. Warnock won 49.4%, with Walker at 48.5%. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver won 2.1%.
The short period between the general election and the Senate runoff is due to a Georgia voting law passed in 2021. The change led to a four-week runoff period instead of nine weeks.
The state’s Senate runoff follows a similar situation in 2021 involving both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats, when Warnock and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff were both forced into a January runoff following the 2020 general election and defeated Republican incumbent Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, giving Democrats an advantage in the Senate.
The outcome of the race between Warnock and Walker has major national implications as Democrats currently hold a 50-49 advantage after the midterms.
A win by Warnock would give Democrats an advantage in Senate committee selection and other areas in the chamber. A victory by Walker would leave the Senate at its current 50-50 level. Republicans won the House last month.