- Polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. across Georgia.
- Early voting reached historic levels.
- Slow turnout as primary day starts.
The 2022 primary elections are underway in Georgia on May 24. Voters have until 7 p.m. to cast ballots at their local polling place.
Key statewide primary elections are being held for Georgia's governor, secretary of state, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state school superintendent, the commissioners of labor, agriculture and insurance, and a U.S. Senate seat.
Follow our live coverage throughout the day with notes from polling places from our reporters Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon and Beau Evans:
This live blog has concluded.
Incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger declared himself outright winner of the Republican primary for his seat just before midnight on primary day. The AP has not called his race against challengers U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and others.
Raffensperger had captured 51.73% of the vote total with ballots counted in nearly 87% of precincts by midnight, according to state data. Holding a more-than 50% lead would allow him to avoid a runoff before the November 8 general election.
Click the image above for full results from the secretary of state's website.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is close to capturing the 50% vote margin needed for an outright winner over Republican primary challenger U.S. Rep. Jody Hice as we approach midnight on 2022 Primary Day:
Click the image above for full results from the secretary of state's website.
Gov. Brian Kemp delivered a victory speech Tuesday night after defeating former U.S. Sen. David Perdue and others in the Republican primary:
Click the image above to watch a portion of Gov. Brian Kemp's speech recorded by our reporter Alessandro on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Kemp's speech contrasted to words delivered from his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams earlier on primary day in Atlanta:
Click the image above to watch a portion of Stacey Abrams speech recorded by our reporter Alessandro on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
The AP has called the Republican state school superintendent primary for incumbent Richard Woods, who has led Georgia's public k-12 schools since 2019. He stormed to an early lead on primary day against challenger John Barge, a former state school superintendent.
Richard Woods, Republican incumbent for Georgia state school superintendent.
The AP has called the Democratic attorney general primary for state Sen. Jen Jordan, who is set to face Republican incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr in the November 8 general election.
State Sen. Jen Jordan, Democratic nominee for Georgia attorney general.
The AP has called the Republican attorney general primary for incumbent Chris Carr, who is set to face Democratic challenger state Sen. Jen Jordan in the November 8 general election.
Attorney General Chris Carr, Republican incumbent for Georgia attorney general.
Voters across the Peach State largely encountered few difficulties at the election polls today. Sporadic instances of polling place mixups, technical glitches and other obstacles were reported across the state, but nothing that elections observers and experts deemed out of the ordinary.
Read our reporter Alessandro's story on today's voting activities:
Click the photo above to read Alessandro's story on what happened during 2022 Primary Day in Georgia. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp is set for a rematch against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in the November 8 general election.
Kemp's main Republican primary opponent, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, conceded Tuesday night after Kemp surged to a strong early lead. Perdue fueled his campaign largely with former President Donald Trump's endorsement.
The November matchup between Kemp and Abrams is expected to be close. Kemp edged out a win in the 2018 gubernatorial election over Abrams by less than 55,000 votes.
Gov. Brian Kemp, Republican incumbent for Georgia governor.
The AP has called the Democratic U.S. Senate primary race for incumbent U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Atlanta reverend who rushed to a huge early lead in his primary against the lone Democratic challenger, Tamara Johnson-Shealey.
Warnock is set to defend his seat against Republican challenger Herschel Walker in the November 8 general election.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democratic incumbent for U.S. Senate.
The AP has called the Republican U.S. Senate primary for Herschel Walker, the former University of Georgia football star who leapt out to a strong early lead against a large field of primary contenders including Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
Walker will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in the November 8 general election.
Herschel Walker, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
Election officials in Fulton County, home to the most registered voters in the state, expect to wrap up ballot counting by "hopefully no later" than 10:30 p.m. tonight, said Interim Elections Director Nadine Williams.
Fulton County Elections Board Chairwoman Cathy Woolard credited "really robust" early voting with helping "mitigate some of the turnout" on primary day: "So we didn’t see a lot of the long lines.”
Fulton reeled in around 91,000 early ballots and 5,300 mail-in ballots. Vote tallies are posted live as they arrive from local precincts on the secretary of state's website.
Watch Fulton County's press conference by clicking the image above.
The Associated Press (AP) has called the Democratic gubernatorial primary for Stacey Abrams, who was uncontested. She heads to the general election on November 8 against the Republican primary winner.
Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee for Georgia governor.
The AP also called the Republican state agriculture commissioner primary for Tyler Harper, a state senator and farmer who ran unopposed to replace outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who is competing for a U.S. Senate seat.
Tyler Harper, Republican nominee for Georgia agriculture commissioner.
Polls have closed in Georgia's 2022 primary elections. Anyone already in line as of the 7 p.m. close will still be able to cast a ballot:
Two hours remain for voters to cast ballots in the 2022 primary elections. Polls close in nearly all counties at 7 p.m. Results will start arriving on the secretary of state's website around that time:
Click the image above to view the Georgia Secretary of State's election results page.
As voting neared the 7 p.m. close, our reporter Alessandro caught up with voters in Buckhead (Atlanta) including Joel Lobel, who said he voted in person on election day since he wasn't sure his absentee ballot – which he sent on May 18 – would be counted:
Click the image above to watch Alessandro's interview with Joel Loeb outside St. Philip Cathedral in Atlanta on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Update from our reporter Alessandro, who has moved from a Democratic-leaning precinct to a Republican-leaning precinct as he continues covering today's primary elections in Georgia:
Click the image above to link to Alessandro's notes from the field on Twitter.
With Georgians heading to the polls, it's worth a reminder that one of the people they select will become the next secretary of state in charge of elections (or continue to be the secretary of state in incumbent Brad Raffensperg's case).
Catch up on where Republican and Democratic candidates for secretary of state stand on key issues:
Infographic by Brittney Phan for State Affairs.
Georgia's deputy secretary of state, Gabriel Sterling, expects record-setting turnout once all votes are counted in the 2022 primary elections:
Click the image above to view Gabriel Sterling's post on Twitter.
Our reporter Alessandro spoke with Marilyn Marks, executive director of Coalition for Good Governance, about mail-in ballot counting in Fulton County:
“The most interesting thing is that there are only 5,000 ballots that have been received so far," Marks said. "Compare that to November 2020 when this county had 120,000 mail ballots."
“What that tells us with this high turnout is people are voting in person. They’re voting in early-voting centers quite a lot. ... Law S.B. 202 that was passed last March 2021 has really discouraged mail-ballot voters. And I think we’re seeing it in the numbers.”
(Note: The Coalition for Good Governance has been suing the Georgia Secretary of State's office since 2017 over the state's ballot-marking machines provided by Dominion Voting Systems, and other election matters.)
Click the image above to watch Alessandro's interview with Marilyn Marks outside Fulton County's absentee ballot processing center on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Backers of Georgia's election law last year point to expanded early-voting days and hours in many counties – as well as the high turnout of early voters in this year's primary elections – as proof the recent voting changes have not depressed turnout.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Twitter:
"The results speak for themselves. Georgia’s new election law has made it easy to vote and hard to cheat, leading to record turnout of early voters for the May primary."
Our reporter Alessandro has an update on mail-in ballot counting in Fulton County:
- About 5,100 mail-in ballots processed so far today, compared to compare to 121,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
- Around 3,000 to 5,000 mail-in ballots is what's usually expected for a primary.
- New rules and settings mean more ballots are requiring hand duplication because the machines reject them.
- More than 1,600 ballots out of 5,100 so far have had to be duplicated for reasons including: invalid or blank ballots, ambiguous markings or damaged ballots.
- The duplication process involves: hand-marked mail-in ballots that scanners for whatever reason reject get copied onto a fresh ballot in order to count every vote.
- An election worker from each party is present to observe duplication in order to establish a paper audit trail.
A view from outside Fulton County's absentee ballot processing center on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Amid reports of Georgia voters arriving at incorrect polling places due to redistricting, be sure to check where your polling place is located at the secretary of state's "My Voter Page": https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/.
Click the image above for a link to the "My Voter Page" and check the location of your polling place. (Credit: Georgia Secretary of State's office)
Our reporter Alessandro is out an absentee ballot processing center in Fulton County to watch how mail-in ballots are counted:
Click the image above to watch Alessandro's video.
Recent polling from the Trafalgar Group shows Gov. Brian Kemp with a comfortable lead (51.8%) over Republican challenger former U.S. Sen. David Perdue – possibly comfortable enough to avoid a primary runoff.
Catch up on the positions and campaign issues separating the incumbent and candidates in the Republican primary for Georgia governor:
Infographic by Brittney Phan for State Affairs.
Georgia's deputy secretary of state, Gabriel Sterling, reports officials are seeing "steady voting" on primary day so far: "Over 2500 polling places are processing voters," Sterling said on Twitter.
Some voters have reported being turned away from polling places where they are no longer registered after precinct lines were redrawn during the recent redistricting in Georgia.
State lawmakers also voted to restrict when voters can receive a "provisional ballot," which allows someone to vote in the wrong precinct pending ID verification by local poll workers. Now, voters can only cast provisional ballots if they show up to the wrong precinct after 5 p.m., instead of at any time on election day.
Read about key changes last year to Georgia's voting processes that many voters are experiencing for the first time in the 2022 primaries:
To read our story on recent voting changes, click the photo above of state lawmakers voting on last year's sweeping election bill S.B. 202. (Credit: Beau Evans for State Affairs)
Georgia candidates and incumbents are making their final appeals to voters before the polls close at 7 p.m.
Gov. Brian Kemp, who's fending off a Republican challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, hit the radio circuit early on Tuesday to state his case for reelection.
His potential Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, hit the street in Atlanta to rally support for challengers to Republican-held offices. (She is running unopposed in the primary.)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams rallies on the morning of primary day in Atlanta on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Low primary-day turnout in many parts of Georgia so far has contrasted to strong participation in the three-week early voting phase, which drew record turnout.
More than 860,000 ballots were cast during early voting from May 2 to May 20. That's nearly triple the amount of early ballots cast in the 2018 midterm elections.
Large numbers of early voters has helped curb long waits and lines so far, said state Rep. Bee Nguyen, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state.
"The efforts to push people to early and in-person [voting] has really alleviated a lot of the stressors on election-day voting," Nguyen said. "I have not heard reports of extremely long lines like we have in the past."
Click the image above to watch Alessandro's interview with state Rep. Bee Nguyen about what she's seeing on primary day in Georgia. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Some reports cropped up this morning of temporary glitches with voting machines and voters being turned away from the casting ballots in the wrong precinct.
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) has members on site at polling places checking to see how many wrong-precinct voters may be turned away.
The election nonprofit New Georgia Project reported voters being turned away from a polling place in College Park due to issues with check-in poll pads.
Meanwhile, at the FanPlex polling place in Southwest Atlanta, voter Annah Lyles said lines were "night and day" compared to 2020 when she had to wait in line for three hours to vote.
Atlanta voter Annah Lyles had an easier time of it casting her ballot on primary day this year compared to during the 2020 elections. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Voters in Southwest Atlanta largely report a smooth and easy process at their polling places.
48-year old attorney Yolanda Rush called the lack of a long line on Tuesday a "shocking" contrast to 2020 and 2018, when lines often stretched for blocks around polling places. "I always vote," she said. "I've never missed an election."
"I was expecting more people," said Latosha Beadles, a 53-year-old life insurance processor who has lived in the community for nearly a decade. Beadles, who said she pulled a Democratic ballot, said she mainly came out to vote for municipal races, but at the state level was most concerned with the Secretary of State race.
The quick line on the morning of election day at her Southwest Atlanta precinct was a welcome surprise for Latosha Beadles. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Alessandro reports voting got off to a slow start in parts of Southwest Atlanta. Reports from around the state have shown similar low turnout during the morning rush on election day.
Polls opened Tuesday morning to no lines at the Jefferson Park Recreation Center in East Point, a Fulton County municipality South West of Atlanta.
Even after an hour of polls being open State Affairs counted a dozen voters at the precinct where over 2,400 residents are registered.
Atlanta voter David Grier said lines were shorter than in past primary days when he cast a ballot at the FanPlex polling place on May 24, 2022. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
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