Georgia Democrats emphasize early voting, mail-in ballots in runoff race push

Georgia Democrats plan to emphasize early voting and the use of mail-in ballots as part of their efforts to boost turnout in the state’s critical Senate runoff races, according to a memo released Tuesday.

Jonae Wartel, the Georgia runoff director tasked with directing resources for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, said the “first of its kind” campaign is contacting potential voters through in-person canvassing, phone calls and digital outreach. The party put door-to-door outreach efforts on hold for months ahead of the general election due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the memo, Wartel said the Democratic Party’s effort to engage “a diverse coalition of voters” was critical to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia and would be a key to the Senate runoffs. She emphasized the importance of early voting and “additional support for mail-in ballots” to drive turnout for the Warnock and Ossoff campaigns.

“With a narrow window of time in one of the busiest months of the year, the Runoff Coordinated Campaign has one goal: turning out as many voters as we can to vote early, whether early inperson or with mail-in ballots,” the memo says. “Every element of our program, from coalition programming to our conversations with voters to our social media pages, is built around this purpose.

President Trump’s campaign and prominent supporters have argued, without evidence, that widespread use of mail-in ballots utilized in Georgia and other states led to voting irregularities. Several prominent Georgia Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, have denied that widespread fraud took place. Georgia re-certified its general election results on Monday after a recount.

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More than one million Georgia residents have requested absentee ballots for the runoff election. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was first to obtain the memo.

The memo to Georgia Democrats noted that both campaigns were “already seeing high levels of engagement form voters and volunteers.” A virtual rally with former President Barack Obama reached more than 500,000 viewers and attracted a record number of volunteers from a single event.

Georgia’s Senate races proceed to runoffs after no candidate secured at least 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 3. The outcome of each race will determine which party controls the Senate.