Credit: Stephen Fowler | GPB News
Georgia Officials Brace For Election Day 'Barnburner' With Record Lines, Turnout
Heading into the final day of in-person early voting, nearly half of Georgia's 7.6 million registered voters have already cast their ballot, and officials expect 2 million more to show up on Election Day.
"It'll be a barnburner," Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a press conference Friday. "It's gonna be good."
As of Friday morning, more than 3.6 million Georgians had either returned an absentee ballot or visited an early voting site over the past three weeks, coming close to the 4.1 million total votes in the 2016 presidential election.
Raffensperger said Friday would likely be the busiest of the cycle, with potentially up to 300,000 ballots cast today as people wait until the last minute to vote early.
"We obviously have seen a slowdown in voting with the storm yesterday, but today will likely be a new record in turnout in early voting," he said.
The state's top election official said voters should expect long lines on Tuesday, Nov. 3, because of COVID-19 precautions and unprecedented interest in the election.
Data analysis by GPB News finds that more than a third of Georgia's 2,600 voting precincts have seen more than 50% of their registered voters participate before Election Day, lowering the number of potential voters at the polls.
Raffensperger also said he would soon unveil voting reforms inspired by lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic and overwhelming turnout in the state's first year of using a new $104 million touchscreen voting system.
"Because of these factors, I will be announcing an election reform package that will be voter-centric, enhancing their voter experience while protecting ballot integrity," he said without further elaboration. "And we'll keep county election administrations as the focal point."