ATLANTA, Georgia — More Georgia voters cast ballots on Monday, the first day of early voting for the May 24 primary election, than ever before, with turnout doubling from the 2020 contest.
Election data show 27,298 Georgians voted in person, with more Republican ballots cast than Democratic ones.
"Record turnout on the first day of early voting is a testament to an election system that ensures top-level security and ease of access," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Tuesday, adding that Georgia voters experienced short lines and a "smooth voting process."
On the first day of early voting in the 2020 primary election, 14,950 people cast in-person ballots. By the end of early voting, turnout had jumped to 326,000. And in the 2018 primary election, 9,266 people voted on the first day.
Georgia has many high-profile primary races this year that will test former President Donald Trump's influence on the once ruby-red state.
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The race for governor, for example, pits Republican incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp against Trump-backed David Perdue.
Trump vowed revenge on Kemp for refusing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
He and his hardcore Georgia base have blasted the governor, dragged him through the mud, and called him unpatriotic. They have also claimed Kemp is single-handedly to blame for everything from inflation to the war in Ukraine.
Trump hand-picked Perdue to challenge Kemp, even forking over $500,000 to an organization tasked with creating attack ads against him. Despite the effort, several statewide polls show Kemp with a significant lead over Perdue.
Raffensperger is also being challenged by a Trump-approved candidate. Raffensperger and Rep. Jody Hice are statistically tied, according to a recent poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. About 28% of respondents supported Raffensperger, and 26% backed Hice, within the poll's 3.3% margin of error. About 37% are undecided.
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Hice is basing his campaign on election denial, refusing to accept President Joe Biden won the state despite three recounts, multiple court challenges, and repeated statewide investigations.
Raffensperger has said candidates like Hice are responsible for undermining faith in elections.