Georgia election officials: Consider voting by mail in May

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SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – When you think of voting, you may think of long lines and crowded rooms. But in the age of coronavirus, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperer wants you to think about your living room.

He is encouraging people to consider voting absentee (through the mail) for the May 19 primary.

“We will be mailing out next week to all active voters an absentee ballot request form,” he told News 3 in a phone conversation Friday.

A reminder: the presidential preference primary set for March 24 was delayed and now will be held on May 19 along with the general primary which includes local races. Raffensperger says when you receive the first mailing about requesting an absentee ballot, you must also indicate a political preference to make sure you receive the correct ballot for the presidential primary.

While the usual scenario is a voter must request an absentee ballot — in this case, the state is contacting all 6.9 million registered voters and asking if you want one. Raffensperger says the expense in postage alone for that mailing is a lot but necessary.

“We want people to know they have the option of voting by mail right now,” he said.

He believes many older voters with concerns and/or underlying health conditions are likely to take advantage of the mail option. He says it should not only give older voters peace of mind but help counties who often have older poll workers

“Because the average age of poll workers is 72 and a lot of poll workers in the last week of the presidential primary were starting to call in say they didn’t feel comfortable coming in to be at the polls because of concerns about their health,” said Raffensperger.

Raffensperger says in-person voting will still be scheduled for the day of May 19 and that early voting in May will also take place in person. But he does expect many Georgians to take advantage of the mail option in May.

“We will just have to see how many,” he told us.

How it will work:

  1. If you are a registered voter you will receive a mailing in the next couple of weeks asking if you want an absentee ballot, i.e. the option to vote by mail.
  2. If you want to vote in the presidential primary you must indicate a political preference. This is to make sure you receive the correct ballot.
  3. You MUST mail back your request form yourself in the envelope provided.
  4. Once you receive the actual ballot, fill it out and then you MUST mail back the ballot
  5. The ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on May 19 so mail it in time to make that deadline

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