Georgia Election Official: Absentee Ballots Not ‘Automatic’ for Senate Runoff

An absentee ballot election worker consolidates a large stack of absentee ballot applications at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4, 2020. - The US election is officially open: North Carolina on September 4, 2020 launched vote-by-mail operations for the November 3 contest between …
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Georgia’s preparation for the January 5 runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats includes providing for absentee voting, but the chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections said the distribution of these ballots will not be “automatic” and will require additional steps.

“Just because you got an absentee ballot in the last election does not mean you’ll get an automatic ballot in this election unless you’re one of our 13 or so thousand elderly or disabled that are on our list,” Mike Kaplan said in a recent meeting. “Everyone else, even if you voted by absentee in the Nov. 3 election, has to request an absentee ballot. I want to make that very clear.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) reported on the development:

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections began sending out absentee ballots Nov. 18 to those who recently requested them or were already on the list. Anyone who previously requested an absentee ballot and checked a box for elderly or disabled will be automatically mailed a ballot for the upcoming runoff, said Macon-Bibb elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson.

Kaplan is worried voters might be confused since all active voters were mailed ballot requests this summer.

To lower the COVID-19 risk and burden on polling places in the June elections, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger sent absentee ballot request forms to all 6.9 million active voters in the state. In that effort, a record 1.6 million Georgians requested an absentee ballot for the June primary with more than 1.1 million voting by mail and more than 1.2 million voting in person.

Because of that massive number of requests, an online portal was created before the presidential election to allow Georgia voters to request a ballot through a valid Georgia State ID or driver’s license number.

“A no-excuse policy allows anyone to request an absentee ballot for any reason,” GPB reported.

Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are vying against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

Monday is the deadline for voter registration to vote in the January 5 election. January 1 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot.

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