Richmond County early voters turn out in record-setting numbers

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s the last week to hit the polls for early voting in Georgia’s 2022 primary election.

More polling locations just opened in Richmond County, as voters continue to turn out in record numbers across the state.

The high turnout trend is expected to carry on into this week, but election officials say it’s been a steady flow of voters.

They say the record-breaking trends are expected to continue.

The momentum to get out and vote is higher than ever.

“It’s definitely a lot higher than what we expected,” said Travis Doss, Richmond County elections director.

Each week of early voting in Richmond County has broken the totals from 2018 and 2020. The first day of Saturday voting saw 1,254 voters. More than the past two elections combined. Statewide, turnout has increased by 160% compared to the 2020 primaries.

Changes in absentee voting might be bringing more people to vote in-person

“We always do that. We don’t want to wait,” said Mary and Luis Suarez, early voters.

This couple votes early every time.

“We’re both elderly. You never know what might happen in your life, so today we’re okay--we go vote,” they said.

Stephanie Ali with the New Georgia Project says the 2020 momentum taught people how significant their vote can be.

“I think this is a great hype,” she said. “Voters across Georgia realize the critical nature of Georgia in every single election. Whether or not they liked that Georgia ‘turned blue,’ they see how critical turnout can be,” said Ali.

She says local issues seem to be a top priority for voters too.

Doss said: “It’s a big ballot. It goes from senator all the way down to the mayor, commission.”

High turnout now typically means a high turnout in November.

Suarez said: “We’ll just need to see the results afterward.”

Even though this is just the primary for the governor’s race, Augusta commissioners and mayor will be decided on May 24. Early voting sites are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All you need is your ID.

The elections director also says because there are nine mayor candidates, it’s very likely that the race will end up in a runoff. If that happens, the run-off election will be on June 20.

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