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Early voting begins in high-stakes Georgia races

In this May 16, 2014 photo, voters cast their ballots at a polling site during early voting for Georgia's upcoming May 20 primary election in Atlanta.

AP Photo/David Goldman

Early voting begins on Monday in one of the states that could turn control of the Senate.

Georgia polls are now open through Oct. 31 for registered voters wishing to cast ballots ahead of the Nov. 4 elections. One draw in particular is the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, which has roused a colorful race between the CEO of one of former President George W. Bush's nonprofits and the GOP candidate he's actually endorsed.

Recent numbers show Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate who heads the Points of Light Foundation, locked in a virtual tie with Republican businessman David Perdue. It's a high-stakes battle, as the GOP eyes a return to the majority in Congress's upper chamber. In the primaries, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in early voting.

The governor's race in the Peach State has some character of its own - Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is being challenged by Jason Carter, grandson of Jimmy Carter. The 90-year-old former president spent his Sunday stumping for Jason, arguing that a vote for his grandson is a vote toward making "Martin Luther King's dream come true."

Deal predicted the elder Carter will begin to take on a more public role as the neck-and-neck showdown nears: "I respect President Carter, and if I were a grandfather I'd probably want to support my grandson too," he said last week, according to the Associated Press. "But we are not a state nor a nation in which titles such as governor are inherited by virtue of your legacy."

In addition to the seat races and a statewide referendum on property tax, Georgia voters will also weigh two constitutional amendments at the ballot box. One will determine whether a new fee should be imposed on reckless driving arrests, and a second will decide whether state legislators should be barred from raising income tax beyond 6 percent.

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