The June 15 special election for state House District 34 has seen 1,136 votes cast since early voting began last week.
As of Friday, vote totals were available for nine days of early voting. After a slow start of 75 votes on the first day, May 24, the number of early votes rose to more than 100 per day since. More than 150 votes per day were cast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. No voting took place Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.
In the November 2020 general election, about 30,000 votes were cast for House District 34 candidates. Former state Rep. Bert Reeves won with 56% of the vote before resigning in April to take a job at Georgia Tech, triggering the special election.
Of the votes cast so far, 733 were cast at the Cobb Elections and Registration office on Whitlock Avenue and 403 were cast at the North Cobb Library.
Through Thursday, 120 absentee ballots have been issued, but only 38 have been returned. One hundred absentee ballot applications were rejected, though Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said nearly all were thrown out because the applicant did not live in District 34, something she said was common during special elections.
Early voting continues Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both voting locations. Next week is the last week of early voting, with both centers open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday. The following Tuesday is election day.
The race is a “jungle primary,” meaning all candidates run on one ballot, regardless of party. To win, a candidate must receive the majority of votes, or 50% plus one. Otherwise, the top two finishers will advance to a July 13 runoff.
In the race are two Republicans: Devan Seabaugh, vice president of administration for Metro Atlanta Ambulance, and former Kennesaw Councilman David Blinkhorn; two Democrats: Marietta attorney Sam Hensley Jr. and Priscilla Smith, who lost to Reeves in the last election; and Libertarian Chris Neill.
Special elections typically draw much lower voter turnout than presidential or midterm elections. A March state House special election in Atlanta saw 2,756 votes cast, a tenth of the number of votes cast for the same seat in 2020.
“It’s pretty much what we expected,” Eveler said of the turnout so far. “We knew it wasn’t going to be all that busy.”