Voter turnout made Georgia’s 6th District runoff look like a midterm election

12:58 p.m Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Homepage
June 20, 2017, Atlanta: Karen Handel makes a heart symbol while making an early appearance to thank her supporters after the first returns came in during her election night party in the 6th District race with Jon Ossoff on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Sixth District voters turned out in unprecedented numbers Tuesday for their runoff, but it takes a step back to appreciate by just how much.

We already knew that while typical turnout during off-year special elections is notoriously low, Georgia’s 6th District special election on April 18 (which decided who was in Tuesday’s runoff) topped 37 percent — nearly 194,000 people voted.

But Tuesday’s unofficial ballot count topped 259,600. That’s more than the 210,000 votes cast in the district in the November 2014 general election – putting the contest squarely in common with midterm contests, not special elections.

Many had predicted a 210,000-plus turnout, although few were sure how high it would go despite the district’s reputation as a highly motivated group of voters.

With the numbers finally in, we saw a 39 percent increase in ballots cast over April.

And overall turnout percentage-wise didn’t disappoint, either.

In a district with about 526,000 registered voters in all, nearly half of them came out: Unofficial turnout stood at about 49 percent in the race.

And we know the result: Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in what many had considered an early referendum of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Click here to read more of our coverage on myAJC.com.

Handel told Channel 2's Richard Elliot that she wants to earn the respect of Ossoff supporters.
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