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Record early voting turnout in Georgia after claims that new law would suppress vote

Georgia voters are setting new benchmarks in early voting turnout ahead of the midterms — after Democrats led by President Biden compared the state’s newly enacted election law to segregation-era “Jim Crow” measures last year.

On Monday, the first day of early voting in the Peach State, more than 131,000 people cast ballots, breaking a Georgia record. 

The showing marked an increase of 85% compared to 2018, when only 71,000 Georgians voted on the first possible day to cast ballots.  

As of the close of Wednesday, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office said 434,546 early and absentee ballots had been accepted.

In a statement Thursday, the office said the early in-person turnout of 396,332 constituted a 76% increase over the 225,015 who turned out in the first three days of early voting in 2018 — and just 3.5% below the 410,809 who turned out through three days of early voting in the presidential voting year of 2020.

People standing in line waiting to vote in Georgia.
Since Monday, more than 430,000 people have voted in Georgia.

“The counties have worked tirelessly alongside our office to encourage Georgians to cast their vote early,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in the statement. “County election directors are getting the job done and Georgians know it.”

Georgia has more than 7.8 million registered voters, 6.9 million of whom are deemed “active” by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Widespread claims of fraud during the 2020 vote led to the passage in 2021 of the Election Integrity Act, which restricted voting by mail, but also required in-person early voting to take place for at least 17 days leading up to Election Day.

Both Biden and Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams railed against the law before and after its passage, claiming it restricted minorities’ access to the ballot.

People voting in Georgia.
Widespread claims of fraud during the 2020 elections led to the passage of the Election Integrity Act of 2021.

In March 2021, Biden called the Georgia election law “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” and claimed that it would “deny people the right to vote.”

Biden also falsely claimed that the “ends voting hours early.”

That same month, Abrams called Republicans backing the new law “racist,” and said the Election Integrity Act was “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” 

The election law was also decried by major corporations, many of whom boycotted the state in response.

Major League Baseball pulled its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the law, moving the game to Denver. 

Hollywood star Will Smith announced that because of the law, his production company would no longer film the antebellum drama “Emancipation” in the state.

Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Merck, UPS, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and Facebook were among the myriad companies that expressed concerns over voter suppression in the wake of the law’s passage.

“More people are voting early in Georgia than in past presidential elections,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Thursday. “Biden, Abrams, and [Sen. Raphael] Warnock should apologize for their lies that cost businesses $100 million in revenue.”

Instead, Abrams doubled down on her claims Tuesday, telling supporters: “Yesterday, we saw record turnout for early voting … It does not mean that voter suppression doesn’t exist. That’s like saying there are no more sharks in the water because more people get in.

“We know that voter suppression is alive and well in Georgia.”

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