Georgia voters made history this year with more than 2.3 million people casting their votes early – surpassing a record set in 2008.
A total of 2,381,416 people cast their votes early or with an absentee ballot. In 2008, 2,129,316 people cast their votes early.
In metro Atlanta, several counties – including Gwinnett, Cobb and Fulton – beat their early voting records set in the last presidential election.
County elections officials in metro Atlanta said that with hundreds of voting locations open on Election Day, and up to 40 percent of registered voters already having cast their ballots, lines should be much shorter Tuesday.
In DeKalb County, more than 193,386 people voted early, which is more than 37 percent of total registered voters.
Voters in DeKalb are choosing county commissioners, the new CEO and, for some, whether they want to belong to a new city of Stonecrest.
"This is another pivotal election, a lot of changes coming to the county,” said DeKalb County spokesperson Elise Roberts. “The presidential election is [also] sparking a lot of interest."
Richard Barron, the Fulton County director of registrations and elections, said the 262,068 people who voted early in Fulton County was in line with his expectations for this election.
“Unless this election is similar to how this election has gone in every other respect, and it's completely unpredictable with regard to turnout and as many people come out on Election Day as come out early, we're going to end up having an 85 to 90 percent turnout,” Barron said. “I just doing see that happening.”
But Barron said in some locations there were lines at polling places numbering more than 300 people, but still there was "no grumbling." He said the county is prepared for Nov. 8.
“We prepare for a 30 percent early voting turnout and 70 percent Election Day turnout, but I’m thinking we’re going to flip-flop that where it's 60 percent early, 40 percent Election Day,” Barron said.
Barron said he’s working to get permission from the state to open non-government owned buildings as early voting sites. He said finding an early voting location in Midtown was particularly difficult.
“It’s really hard to find government owned buildings we can go to. For example, the Buckhead library, the parking lot isn’t that big and it’s just jammed there,” Barron said. “It would be nice to go into grocery stores or malls, or something like that."
He said he’s also calling for more investment in technological infrastructure. At the Adamsville Recreation Center early voting site, poll workers sometimes had to deal with slow Internet access and slow check-in computers.
Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said she expects a turnout of 40 to 42 percent on Election Day because more than 162,265 already voted early there.
“In 2008, when we had 38 percent of our voters vote early, then at the polls we saw 42 percent vote at the polls so going by historical records that’s what we predict we’ll probably see again,” Eveler said.
Gwinnett County spokesperson Joe Sorenson said it saw “unprecedented interest,” with more than 166,000 citizens choosing to vote early.
"It looks like 38.5 percent of our active registered have already voted and that should keep lines down at the 156 precincts that will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day," Sorenson said.
In 2008, about 81 percent of active registered voters in Gwinnett County turned out to vote in the general election.
Sorenson said this election was a learning opportunity for Gwinnett, where wait times varied from 20 minutes to five hours.
The county had to add a couple of polling locations in the first week of early voting because of the long lines.
TOP 5 COUNTIES WITH HIGHEST (EARLY VOTING) TURNOUT:
- FULTON 262,068
- DEKALB 193,386
- GWINNETT 166,509
- COBB 162,265
- FORSYTH 72,535