First, Secretary of State Brad Rafensberger has decided that due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 right now, we have mailed Absentee Ballot Applications to all ACTIVE voters. If you did not receive an application in the mail by now, you need to contact the Elections Office at 912-496-2607 to request an application.
Second, let me explain how the processing of Absentee Ballots works. When a ballot is returned to the Elections Office, it is date stamped and signed into the Elections System as having been received and accepted or challenged. If accepted, no further action is taken until Election Day when they are opened and scanned. If one is challenged, a letter is sent to the voter giving them the reason it is being challenged and advising the voter that they have to contact the Elections Office to make any corrections necessary in order for the ballot to be accepted. Once this correction has been made, no further action is taken until Election Day as well.
Third, the anonymity of the voter is always preserved. When the ballots are opened on Election Day, there are three or four people that handle them. The first person opens the oath envelope and puts it in a stack to their left and passes the “Ballot Envelope” to their right where another person opens that envelope. The opened envelope is then passed to the third person who removes it from the envelope and passes it to the fourth person who counts the ballots for reconciliation at the end of the night. At no time does any one of these persons know which ballot came out of which Oath Envelope.
Fourth, once you have mailed you Absentee Ballot back to the Elections Office, you can go to www.mvp.sos.ga.gov and check the status of your ballot. If you have mailed your ballot back to the Elections Office and it doesn’t show as having been received on your MVP page, you would then need to contact the Elections Office to find out what has happened. We have a checks and balance system that accounts for every ballot that is mailed out to a voter and returned to the Elections Office.
Now that you know the process, it is our hope that you feel more comfortable with the Absentee Ballot process and return the application you received in the mail for a ballot to be mailed to you. Because we do not know what is going to happened with COVID-19, we are hoping that EVERY voter will request an absentee ballot and votes it. As Supervisor of Elections, I do not want to expose any of my voters nor poll workers unnecessarily to anything and for now this seems to be the safest way to vote in the May 19, 2020 PPP, General Primary, Nonpartisan General Election.
If you have any questions or concerns that have not been answered here, please feel free to contact the Elections Office at 912-496-2607 and even if we are ordered to shelter at home, your call will be answered. If you have to leave a message, please do so and Brenda Hodges, Supervisor of Elections will return your call within 24 hours.