The line outside South Cobb Regional Library in Mableton stretched around the block on the first day of early voting for the Nov. 3 elections in 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans)

After eclipsing the 2018 midterm elections turnout on the first day of early voting this week, Georgians surpassed the turnout ahead of the 2020 presidential election on the second day of early voting.

More than 134,000 voters cast early ballots across the Peach State Tuesday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reported. That’s a 3.3% increase over the second day of early voting two years ago. Historically, voting in midterm elections falls off substantially from voting in presidential elections.

“We’re extremely pleased that so many Georgians are able to cast their votes, in record numbers and without any reports of substantial delays,” Raffensperger said. “This is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s election workers, the professionals who keep our elections convenient and secure.”

This year’s midterms mark the first general election since the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed controversial election-reform legislation last year replacing the signature-match verification process for absentee ballots with a photo ID requirement and restricting the location of absentee ballot drop boxes.

Raffensperger and other Republican leaders are pointing to the strong early voting numbers as proof the new law is not suppressing the vote as Democratic critics have claimed.

But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams argued the record turnout is a result of Democrats overcoming the voting restrictions.

“It does not mean voter suppression doesn’t exist,” Abrams told supporters Tuesday during a rally in southeastern Atlanta. “But we’re stronger, better, and faster than it.”

During the first two days of early voting, which began Monday, more than 268,000 Georgians voted early in person. Tuesday’s turnout was 75% higher than the second day of early voting ahead of the last midterm elections in 2018.

Early voting turnout is expected to increase during the last week of the early voting period. All 159 Georgia counties will have early voting this Saturday.

The last day for early voting will be Nov. 4, the last Friday before Election Day Nov. 8. To find early voting locations and hours in your county, visit the secretary of state’s My Voter Page.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams | Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.