Nearly 12,000 Chatham County voters have not returned a requested absentee ballot

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SAVANNAH. Ga. (WSAV) – There are hours left to submit an absentee ballot to the Chatham County Board of Registrars. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office says they are waiting on nearly 12,000 people in the county to return one.

Because absentee ballots must be returned no later than 7 p.m. on election night, the chairman of the Chatham County Board of Registrars says it is too late to mail in a completed ballot.

The best way to return one is to give it directly to the Board of Registrars or to drop it into one of several absentee ballot drop boxes.

Election Day preparations began Monday afternoon for those who will still choose to vote in-person on Tuesday. Election board members expect 75-85 percent of registered voters in Chatham County to cast a ballot in this year’s election.

Poll managers spent the afternoon picking up voting machines for an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 people who will vote in-person on Tuesday.

“We want to make sure that they’re calm,” said Chatham County Board of Elections member Antwan Lang. “[Poll workers] can do their job to the best of their ability when they’re calm, but also when the citizens are being a little patient… we’re going to get through this and I promise, as we go along tomorrow, we will get through this.”

Lang is reminding voters to bring proper identification to the polls, to leave weapons and campaign paraphernalia inside the car and to check beforehand where polling precincts are located. He is also reminding people to insist they vote provisionally if there are any problems.

So far, the Chatham County Board of Registrars says it has processed a majority of returned absentee ballots.

Nearly 39,000 ballots have been returned — 639 percent higher than in 2016.

“By transferring over 36,000 [ballots] before Election Day, we’ve let the Board of Elections do a lot of the legwork they have to do in order to get those ballots to be counted on election day,” said Colin McRae, chairman of the Chatham County Board of Registrars.

When he includes those who took advantage of early in-person voting and those who returned absentee ballots, McRae says 93,525 voters have cast a ballot so far. In 2016, 41,151 people voted early in total.

If you have not received your absentee ballot, you can vote in-person by spoiling your ballot. McRae says about 6,000 voters have done that.

He is expecting hundreds more absentee ballots to be returned on Election Day.

“There’s no concern there. Those will be tabulated and it is perfectly legal for those to be tabulated days or a week after Election Day. There is nothing wrong with that happening,” said McRae. “I want to dispel any concern about that being some usurping of the election code.”

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