Georgia likely to get election results much early in the evening this year

Georgia could see election results faster than ever tonight.

A change to Georgia law means some Georgia counties are already tabulating early votes.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Justin Gray was at the state’s election command center Tuesday night. If 2020 was any indication, the longer the counting takes and the longer voters have to wait for results, the more conspiracy theories and confusion can take hold.

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Officials at the Election Command Center said the new clarification in Georgia’s law will allow Georgia’s biggest counties to have big batches of results early in the evening.

“Some people can’t believe turnout is so strong, because you’re not seeing the long lines, so the counties have done a tremendous job,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger made a brief appearance at the command center before clearing the room and the building when election reporting went live at 3 p.m., since he is a candidate.

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State officials monitoring all of Georgia’s 159 counties said average wait times have hovered at just two to three minutes throughout the day even as they project strong election day turnout, which is on track to possibly hit two million voters. That’s on top of 2.5 million people who voted early.

Senate Bill 202 allows those early votes to be tabulated beginning at 7 a.m. on election day instead of after the polls close, like in past elections, as long as the poll workers counting are sequestered from other employees.

“We think that will allow us to have results at 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m. instead of 11:30 p.m. or midnight,” Deputy Secretary of State Gabe Sterling said.

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Sterling said getting 2.5 million early votes out of the way quickly gives a tremendous head-start to counties’ vote-counting operations.

“We get those votes into the vote totals early, it will help us get to the finals faster,” Sterling said.

Elections officials compared an election day to a plane flight. Taking off and landing are the biggest risks. Take off this morning was a big success, so now officials are just looking to nail the landing.