(The Center Square) – More Georgians already have voted ahead of in-person voting Tuesday than in the last presidential election in 2016.

Georgians will cast their votes in the general election not only for president but also for congressional leadership in the U.S. Senate and House.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday most of Tuesday’s votes would be counted election night or early Wednesday morning. Unofficial results may be available Thursday, but there is a potential for runoff elections.

As of Friday night, 3.9 million voters had cast ballots in Georgia, surpassing the total number of ballots cast in 2016, when 2.3 million Georgians voted in the 2016 general election, according to Raffensperger’s office.

About 1.2 million of the votes cast so far are absentee ballots, marking a 559% increase in mail-in ballots, officials said. In 2016, Georgians cast 181,299 absentee ballots.

Former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s retirement and U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ death could lead to a changing of the guards in Georgia’s representation in Congress.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was temporarily appointed to Isakson’s seat in December, faces 20 challengers in Tuesday’s special election. Loeffler, Republican Congressman Doug Collins, who vacated his position to run, and Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, have topped the polls.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue is being challenged by Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel for what Perdue said would be his final term. Candidates in the U.S. Senate races must secure 50% of the votes to claim victory, or the race would head to a runoff in January.

The Democratic Party of Georgia selected its chairperson, state Sen. Nikema Williams, to replace Lewis as the party’s nominee in the 5th Congressional District in the general election. She faces Republican nominee Angela Stanton-King, a reality TV star who was pardoned by President Donald Trump in February on federal conspiracy charges.

Other battleground races include a faceoff between Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux and Republican Rich McCormick for the 7th Congressional District and a rematch between Georgia incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and Republican Karen Handel for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

According to a recent survey conducted by Not Free America, 62% of Georgians trust and have confidence in the country’s election process. About 73% percent of Georgians believe their votes will be counted fairly and accurately when voting in-person, the report states.

Two amendments to the Georgia Constitution and a statewide referendum also are on the ballot. Voters will decide whether they can sue the government for violating the law, whether the state should use public funds as they are intended and whether to grant tax exemptions for certain homes.

This article was initially published at TheCenterSquare

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