Nov 8, 2022 - News

An insider's guide to Election Day in Georgia

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More than 2 million Georgia ballots have been cast.

  • 4.4 million other registered, active voters have Tuesday to join them.

Why it matters: While Georgia's last midterm election in 2018 drew national attention, the states’ results now lie squarely in the center of national political crosshairs.

Catch up quick: The 2021 voting law, S.B. 202 made many changes to the state's election system — including some that affect counting ballots and Election Day. Here are a few:

Election Day:

  • If voters show up at the wrong polling place before 5pm on Election Day, they must go to the correct one. After the new law, voters may only cast a provisional ballot at the wrong polling place if they arrive after 5pm.
  • Check your polling place here.


  • Counties are now able to start counting their mail-in ballots at 7am Tuesday, as opposed to 7pm. They will not report results, however, until 7pm.
  • They were also already able to start opening and scanning — not counting — the absentee ballots ahead of time, to make Election Day easier.
  • By 10pm on Tuesday, counties must report to the secretary of state the total number of ballots cast on the election, early and absentee — not necessarily the results.
  • Poll workers cannot stop counting ballots until they are done. Previously they could stop at the discretion of an elections superintendent.

Be smart: These counting provisions were designed to avoid the long drawn-out vote counting of 2020, which also bred false allegations of voter fraud.

Of note: The Carter Center — which normally works in foreign countries — this year has deployed election observers to its own backyard in Fulton County, at the request of the Secretary of State's performance review board, with approval from the county.

Zoom in on other tips for watching the results:

  • "100% precincts reporting" does NOT mean all ballots have been reported. It means at least one ballot from each precinct has been uploaded.
  • There is sometimes a lag between the state's official results page and that of outside groups like the New York Times. That's because the secretary of state does not automatically post results from the counties without a check to make sure nothing looks awry. Other sides automatically pull counties' data without that step.
  • The secretary of state's site is, therefore, the most accurate.

What they're saying: Jessica Corbitt, spokeswoman for the Fulton County elections office, told Axios they're ready: "We have a lot of locations and there will be an issue. That's just how it works," she said.

  • "But I think we have everything in place that we need to to address those things."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that the Carter Center's election observation of Fulton County happened at the request of the Secretary of State, not the county elections board.


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