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Requests for mail-in ballots top 1 million in Georgia as early voting begins in Senate runoffs

Requests for mail-in ballots top 1 million in Georgia as early voting begins in Senate runoffs

More than 1 million voters in Georgia have requested mail-in ballots as turnout is expected to explode in next month's runoff Senate elections.

Data obtained by The Wall Street Journal showed that roughly 1.2 million mail-in ballots have been requested and another 200,000 have already been filled out and returned, suggesting that voters are eager to participate in the runoff contests, which have historically seen lower levels of turnout.

Democrats Jon OssoffJon OssoffDC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill MORE and the Rev. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Georgia senators introduce measure allowing voters to have access to water while waiting Cruz outspending other senators on Facebook ads: report MORE are hoping to unseat two sitting GOP senators, Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' Loeffler asks Georgia attorney general to investigate Raffensperger over 2020 election Former Rep. Doug Collins won't enter Georgia Senate race MORE and David PerdueDavid PerdueGeorgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Georgia's top election official looks to shake political drama MORE, in next month's contest after seeing their state go blue for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected BuzzFeed News finds Biden's private Venmo account Kid reporter who interviewed Obama dies at 23 MORE last month. Biden's win in the state was a notable victory for Democrats, who haven't won the state since 1992, and unseating Perdue and Loeffler would swing the balance of the U.S. Senate in favor of Democrats just in time for the incoming Biden administration.

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As many as 67 percent of those who requested mail-in ballots for November's elections in the state have requested them again for January's runoffs, according to the data obtained by the Journal from U.S. Elections Project.

“It looks like we’re going to have a high-turnout election,” the state's top elections official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), told the newspaper. “I would encourage all the candidates to make sure that they run hard, because we don’t have a runoff after the runoff. This is it.”

The race has also been the subject of intense national scrutiny due in part to President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE's refusal to concede his 2020 presidential election defeat to Biden. His ongoing legal efforts in Georgia as well as other states has led to some supporters, notably attorney L. Lin Wood, to call for Republicans to boycott the upcoming Senate runoff in protest.