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(Data in this story updated Nov. 5.)
More early Georgia voters turned out this year than they did in the early voting period in the Abrams-Kemp matchup in 2018. But as might be expected, there’s so far less interest than there is in a typical presidential year.
As of Nov. 4, about 2.5 million Georgians had cast an in-person, electronic or mail ballot during early voting — or some 32% of the total folks registered.
Turnout so far is higher than at this point the last time Georgia elected a governor or a U.S. Senator — by this point in early voting for 2018, about 2.1 million Georgians had cast a ballot.
Or put another way, the gap in turnout so far in 2022 versus 2018 is about 425,000, or, roughly the population of both Augusta and Columbus combined.
And the early turnout so far is lower than the last time Georgians voted for a president — as would be expected. By this point in 2020, some 3.9 million Georgians had voted. A presidential race always draws more people to the polls.
Even though voter turnout so far is up from the last midterm contest in 2018, millions of Georgians have been unmoved in recent years by anybody on the ballot at all. From 2010 to 2020, the total turnout rate for general elections has run between about half and three-quarters of registered, active voters.
The last day to vote is Election Day, Nov. 8. Find your polling place and other voting information via the state of Georgia’s page.
Click here to check the math
In the interest of transparency and building trust in ACC’s data reporting, here are notes on where and how we get all these numbers.
Voter turnout 2010-2020:
There are several ways to calculate a voter turnout rate, and you may see numbers that are a few points apart — yet accurate — depending where you look.
Getting the number of ballots cast is straightforward on Georgia’s official election results page.
But the number of potential voters in the whole pool is a judgment call.
The biggest number the state tracks is “total registered voters.” This is everyone on the roll, no matter the last time they voted. This number has advantages for comparing turnout over time because it’s calculated the same way every year. But it always includes an unknown number of people who are dead or who have moved but haven’t been removed from the voter roll yet. This number is too big by an unknown and changing amount.
The state of Georgia also tracks and tends to calculate with what it calls “active” voters: folks who have voted in the last seven or eight years. But it might not be comparable year over year for long periods because of when and how various secretaries of state do voter roll maintenance. So it’s not ideal for looking at trends over years and years.
To avoid that debate, ACC has used turnout rates from the U.S. Elections Project.
The U.S. Elections Project estimates the voting pool size by taking the state’s 18+ population and subtracting the estimated count of people who aren’t eligible to vote because they’re not citizens or are in prison or other factors. That voting pool estimate tends to be lower than state numbers, but fell between them in 2020.
Georgia publishes an updated roster of early voters every evening during the early voting period.
It's a huge file, too big to open with Excel. It requires database software or coding to open. Please see our Python code for reading the file and technical notes on the file.
Registered voters by county as of 2022 available on the Georgia Secretary of State’s Data Hub. To calculate early turnout rate, we used total registered voters.