Reports from around the state are of a heavier turnout than usual for a non-presidential election. Republicans and Democrats, and groups that support them, have been unusually busy trying to get out the vote through mailers and phone calls.
Traditionally, Republicans turn out in off-year elections in greater strength than Democrats. Even if Democrats’ efforts boosted turnout among their base this year, it’s not likely to be enough because their voter-registration drives resulted in a fraction of the numbers they had said was critical to their success.
Early voting, which included Sunday voting for the first time in some cities, increased over past years, and the percentage of early voters who were black rose, too. Those are good signs for Democrats because blacks generally support Democratic candidates.
However, an analysis by political strategists at Landmark Communication concluded that the vast majority of early voters had cast ballots in the last off-year election. That would suggest that Democrats’ turnout efforts had not convinced many infrequent voters to show up, the very group they need in large numbers to add to their base.
Those who did wait until Election Day ran into some glitches in various places around the state. If they wanted to look up where to vote, the Secretary of State’s website with the information was down for much of the morning. Some precincts had long lines due to county officials not setting up enough electronic voting machines. And one precinct on the Georgia Tech campus charged voters for parking, which drew claims of an illegal “poll tax” from some national voter-rights groups.