Early voting numbers are spiking in Georgia during showdown for the governor’s seat

Seth Clark was not discouraged by waiting over an hour to vote at the Macon-Bibb County elections office on Monday, the first day of early voting.

He said he was pleased by the number of people he saw who were voting early for the Nov. 6 general election, especially when compared to the lower turnout that’s more common in a non-presidential election year.

Bibb County and others across Georgia are seeing an unusually high number of voters hitting the polls for a midterm election. The highlight of this year’s ballot is a closely contested battle between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams to be Georgia’s next governor.

Through Tuesday, 211,861 Georgians had voted, which is a 214 percent increase over the last governor’s election in 2014 when 67,372 ballots were filled out over the same time frame, according to georgiavotes.com, which takes publicly available data and organizes it. It was in 2014 that Gov. Nathan Deal fended of Democratic challenger Jason Carter on the ballot.

Since Monday 3,767 people voted in person in Bibb County. That compares to just 1,631 advanced voters for the first three days of early voting in 2014, according to the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections.

This year’s numbers are more on par with the 4,565 in-person voters for the first three days of early voting for the 2016 presidential election.

In Bibb, lines have been moving fairly quickly after that first day — averaging about a five- to 10-minute wait.

“We’re using a brand new software, a great software that allows us to process voters quickly and efficiently so that your experience when you come out and vote this year won’t be so taxing on your time,” Bibb elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson said Wednesday.

Through Tuesday, there were 2,453 votes cast in Houston County, up 278 percent from 2014, according to georgiavotes.com, which also shows large increases of voters in counties such as Monroe, Peach and Jones.

The large turnout is likely due to the “Trump factor” that’s rallying both sides of the political aisle. Also, in Georgia polls are showing a closely contested battle to become the next governor while other key state and local positions are up for grabs as well.

“People are engaged,” said Clark, who runs a communications consulting firm and has worked on campaigns for Michelle Nunn and Stacey Evans. “At this point, the question is which campaign gets the most voters out and is able to convince these undecided moderates which way to go.”

Telegraph videographer Beau Cabell contributed to this report.