Georgia Senate runoff turnout hits 1.4 million on Election Day, official says

Nearly 1.9 million people voted early or cast an absentee ballot.

December 6, 2022, 8:14 PM

After record-breaking early voting turnout last week, Georgians continued to head to the polls in Tuesday's Senate runoff between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker.

Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer for the Georgia secretary of state's office, said in a news conference Tuesday evening that it looked like Georgia had 1.4 million people cast their votes on Election Day.

"This was the most in-person voting we've had since the launch of the new system," Sterling said. "It looks like we probably beat the Election Day vote of November 2022, which was the highest. And we know it was more than November 2020, and it was more than the runoff in 2021."

"We have record turnout across the board," Sterling added. "We had record turnout for a runoff in a midterm. We had record turnout for early voting. We had a record use of absentee ballots. This system in place allows voters ease of use, their choice of freestyle voting and essentially, on Election Day, no lines."

Tuesday's turnout numbers are in addition to the nearly 1.9 million Georgians who already voted early or cast an absentee ballot, which is more than a quarter of registered voters.

Approximately 352,953 people voted on Friday alone -- a new record -- on was the last day of early voting.

Sterling was tweeting throughout Tuesday to give updates on Election Day, including touting low wait times at polling stations across the state and assuring residents things were "running smoothly."

A voter casts his ballot at a polling station for the U.S. Senate runoff election, Dec. 6, 2022 in Atlanta.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Warnock and Walker are facing off after neither clinched 50% of the vote in the November election. While majority control of the Senate has already been called for Democrats, the Georgia runoff will determine if Democrats add to their advantage or Republicans keep the even 50-50 divide in the chamber, which would create procedural obstacles for Democrats.

Warnock, at an Election Day canvass lunch in Norcross, urged supporters not to get deterred by rainy weather and to keep going to the polls.

"It's Election Day. I want to tell everybody to go out and vote," he said. "We had historic turnout during the early voting period. But we should not rest on our laurels. The job is not done."

Walker also praised early voting numbers, telling ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott on Tuesday that "one of the best things we did during the early election, I think, [was] people got out and voted."

Walker also dodged commenting on Warnock's questioning of his character and competence amid a series of controversies this cycle.

Local residents wait in line to cast their ballots during the midterm runoff elections at Psalmond Road Recreation Center in Columbus, Georgia, Dec. 6, 2022.
Cheney Orr/Reuters

"We're talking about your character .. . we're talking about right now," Walker said. "Georgia voters voted. Right now, I'll put my character against Raphael Warnock any day. Right now I've done a lot of things," he said.

Asked about his reaction to Walker's comments, Warnock told ABC News: "My opponent says many things. You can't believe any of it."

ABC News' Lalee Ibssa and Isabella Murray contributed to this report.

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