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Early voting turnout breaking records two weeks before Election Day

Early voting hits record in key states
Voter intimidation reports in Arizona referred to the Justice Department 03:14

With 15 days to go to Election Day, early voting is already underway in 34 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 7.5 million people have already voted, either in person or by mail. Some states have already smashed early voting records set in the presidential election of 2020.

But, as CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes reports, voting has not been without incident. Some voters in the Phoenix area say that people with guns and wearing tactical gear approached them at a ballot drop location when they cast their votes. Others said they were followed after voting.

Arizona is one of many states where Republicans who question the fairness of the 2020 election are on the ballot themselves.

Record Midterm turnout

High voter turnout has been recorded during early voting in Georgia.  CBS News

In Georgia this weekend, more than 80,000 voters showed up on one day alone – a 159% increase from the same day of early voting four years ago.

Nancy Franklin, a voter in Liberty County, Ga., described her experience: "No line. Just present my ID, they process, straight to the machines, and out!"

Similar reports are coming in from key states like North Carolina and Florida.

Democrats – who typically have an edge in early voting – have been urging supporters to get to the polls now.

On CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "I am worried about the level of voter turnout among young people and working people who will be voting Democratic."

Meantime, CBS News has confirmed that, behind the scenes, former President Donald Trump has been encouraging Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania to repeal Act 77, which allows all voters in the state to cast ballots by mail.

The 2019 law, which enables "no excuse" mail-in voting, was upheld by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. Trump, who attacked and discouraged mail-in voting in 2020, lost Pennsylvania to President Joe Biden by 81,660 votes.

Ballot box "watchers"

On Friday two armed individuals wearing tactical gear were on site at a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona. They left after Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene.  Maricopa County Elections

In Arizona, election officials are concerned about alleged voter intimidation in the city of Mesa. Voters say armed individuals, dressed in tactical gear, set up Friday near a ballot drop box. Last week voters were allegedly approached and followed.

"The Justice Department in the past has considered things like videotaping voters, taking photographs of voters as they're trying to vote, following them, as intimidating behaviors," said CBS News election law contributor David Becker.

Meanwhile, a Florida judge has dismissed a case against a man arrested by Governor Ron DeSantis' election police unit in August. He was one of nearly two dozen people issued a voter ID card, but then later arrested and accused of "falsely voting" as a felon who was not eligible.

The case was tossed because the judge said prosecutors didn't have jurisdiction in the case. An appeal is expected, but the ruling sets a precedent for cases to come.

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