One Millionth Absentee Ballot Highlights Election Success Under COVID-19

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Georgia election officials, working with Dominion Voting and Runbeck Election Services, have sent more than one million absentee ballots to Georgia voters for the June 9 primary election. The new development underscores the speed and efficiency with which county election officials are processing absentee ballot requests and the excellent work of the mail vendors and the U.S. Postal Service to get the ballots in the mail and delivered to voters.

“For a state that previously had only around 40,000 mail ballots voted in past general primary elections, the surge to one million ballots sent out is a monumental accomplishment on its own,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “That it was done in such a short time and under the restrictions of a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s election officials on the state and local level.”

Georgia election officials have mailed out more than one million absentee ballots to Georgians planning to vote absentee by mail in the June 9 statewide general primary and Presidential Preference Primary. During the 2016 general primary only around 37,000 absentee ballots were submitted by mail. 200,000 were submitted for the November 2016 general election, just one fifth of the total we are seeing with more than one month to go until the June 9 election date.

The surge in absentee ballot voting was made possible in large part because the Secretary of State sent absentee ballot request forms to all of Georgia’s 6.9 million active voters. The multimillion dollar effort is supported by 68 percent of the Georgia public, including three quarters of voters over age 65 and 76 percent of Black voters.

Instead of leaving the sending of absentee ballot request forms to local elections offices or third party organizations, the Secretary of State’s office took on that responsibility, coordinating with experienced state vendors for the printing and mailing of the request forms. The Secretary of State’s office also contracted with outside mail vendors for the fulfillment of the absentee ballot requests, including the provision of processing equipment and printing and mailing ballots, to take that burden off of local elections officials.

At the same time, the Secretary of State’s office is focusing resources and energy to support early and Election Day in-person voting. In addition to procuring sanitation equipment to distribute directly to counties, the Secretary of State is providing millions of dollars in grants to local elections offices for sanitation equipment, elections infrastructure, and other voting needs. One grant in particular is dedicated to equipment like drop boxes, which will make it easier for voters to return their absentee ballots and for local elections offices to accept them.