Petitioner challenges more than 200 absentee ballots in Chatham County

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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – A petitioner’s challenge for 204 Chatham County absentee ballots not to count in the U.S. Senate runoff election has been shot down by the Chatham County Board of Registrars.

The board held an emergency hearing Thursday to hear evidence. One day before the Senate runoff election, the petitioner claimed these voters had a change of address and no longer lived in the county.

“These challenges are very similar in nature to a set of challenges that were brought to us several weeks back by an individual in Chatham County,” Chairman of the Chatham County Board of Registrars, Colin McRae said.

The Board of Registrars held a hearing for those challenges in December that came from a group called ‘True the Vote.’ They claimed around 7,400 voters had a change of address but there wasn’t any evidence found.

“Other than the statement that she believes that these people no longer reside in the state and given a proposed address for them, did she provide any other documentary evidence other than her belief?” Board member, Wanda Andrews asked.

McRae said there was no evidence submitted other than the petitioner’s belief. The petitioner didn’t show up to the hearing Thursday to share her evidence.

Out of the 204 challenged absentee ballots, there were 84 voters who didn’t return one and 101 voters who did before the challenge was submitted to the Board of Registrars. Research done by the board shows that three challenged ballots were sent to dead people, but they weren’t sent back in. Those who are deceased can still receive an absentee ballot if they’ve requested them to come automatically. Another 14 challenged votes received after the challenge was submitted were sequestered for the hearing.

News 3 did ask about the other two absentee ballots left over to total 204 and we didn’t receive an answer if those were returned or not.

“Out of those 14 that have now been challenged, by attempting to not have their votes not count, out of those 14, eight of those individuals were military ballots,” McRae said.

Because no evidence was provided, the board voted to dismiss the hearing. If the board found evidence, a formal hearing would have been held for the 14 challenged votes. Since there is none, they will be sent to the Chatham County Board of Elections to be counted.

McRae told News 3 this challenge would have had no impact on the Senate runoff election.

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