In other election news, early voting began on Monday for the January 5, 2021 run-off elections for the two US senate seats in Georgia. The Democrats face a stiff task in that they need to win both those races to get just a 50-50 tie in the US Senate. Since the vice-president in the one who has the tie-breaking vote in that body, Kamala Harris would be the one to decide the outcome in such an event.
Even though Joe Biden won the state, it was by a narrow margin in this is traditionally Republican state. Much of the credit has to go to Stacey Abrams for her tireless voter registration efforts and turning out the vote on election day. The Democratic Party must be hoping that she and the other people on the ground can repeat that feat on January 5th.
Because of the importance of this election, people are once again looking at the tea leaves to try and predict what the outcome might be, though as we have seen, that is pretty much a mug’s game these days.
Hundreds of people lined up in a cold rain on Monday to cast ballots in a pair of US Senate races in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber and heavily influence Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to enact his agenda.
“On the first day of early voting during the general election, there were people lined up long before the polls opened. If we see something like that, I think that would bode well for the Democrats,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political science professor who administers the US Elections Project.
It turns out that early voting in Georgia is matching or even exceeding the November numbers.
Election officials in Richmond County, which includes Augusta, said on Monday that one of the county’s major voting centers recorded 2,022 in-person voters by 5 p.m., marking a single-day record for early voting.
On Tuesday morning, election officials in Muscogee County also said they are expecting their early voter numbers for the runoff to match records notched in the November races. More than 3,400 people voted in Muscogee County on Monday, according to Muscogee County Elections Office Supervisor Nancy Boren.
Additionally, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced in November that more than 762,000 absentee ballots have been requested for the runoffs, also marking a record. The state allows voters to cast ballots by mail without providing a reason for not doing so in person.
Other indicators also suggest a very heavy turnout.
More than 168,000 Georgians voted on Monday, the first day anyone could cast an in-person ballot, according to the New York Times. By comparison, 126,000 people voted during the first day of early voting in the November election, more than a 30 percent increase.
Georgia voters have also requested more than 1.2 million mail ballots so far, with more than 260,000 ballots already counted and accepted, according to data collected by the U.S. Elections Project. That means that combined with in-person voting, more than 400,000 people have already cast their ballots with more than two weeks remaining until the Jan. 5 Election Day.
However, I am not so sure that early voting is a very reliable indicator of the eventual outcome. The Trump cult might be so mad that the presidential election was ‘stolen’ from their Dear Leader that it may be them that is driving this increase.
In addition to its importance in terms of Senate control, these elections will be a test of whether Republicans will come out in droves to vote if Trump’s name is not on the ballot, even if he supports and campaigns for the Republicans. In the 2018 election in which Trump was also not on the ballot, his campaigning was not much of factor since Democrats gained 41 seats in the House of Representatives and gained control. But things are very different now. The Trump cult has become even more cultish since then.