First Quarter-Million Absentee Ballots Cast

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Counties have accepted more than 250,000 absentee ballots for the combined Presidential Preference Primary and General Primary, a record amount considering there are still more than three weeks to go before Election Day, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday.

These are the first of nearly 1.4 million absentee ballots requested by voters across Georgia. Over 1.3 million ballots have already been placed in the mail and more than 1.1 million have already been delivered to Georgia voters. The exact number of voted ballots already received by counties is 278,643.

“The system is working, and voters are showing their confidence in it with their votes sent back by mail or deposited in drop boxes,” Raffensperger said. “Everything changed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these numbers show those adjustments are successful – including the absentee-ballot applications this office sent to 6.9 million active registered voters, the steps to streamline the counties’ processing of them, the vendor printing and sending more than 1 million ballots to the voters who requested them, and now the quarter-million people who have returned and cast their absentee ballots.”

Typically, 5-7 percent of voters choose to vote absentee. Raffensperger estimates as many as half will participate by absentee ballot this election, most for the first time.

They have mastered the instructions on their application and ballot and may have benefited from some of the helpful messages in television spots and news coverage, the secretary said. They found it all understandable, clear and easy to follow.

And they have sent their ballots well ahead of the June 9 deadline for county election officials to receive ballots to ensure they’ll be counted.

“The poll workers in each county and I appreciate these voters for not waiting for the last minute to submit their applications and their ballots,” Raffensperger said. “By voting absentee, they help to reduce strain on the election system, and by doing it early, they are being especially conscientious.”

The pandemic is adding new stress on the election system. Poll workers, who generally fall into the high-risk age group, are self-isolating, leaving counties to find replacements. Churches and other organizations that usually host polling places are refusing to do so this election, forcing counties to find alternate locations.

As voters continue to receive their absentee ballots, Raffensperger is urging them to vote and return them sooner rather than later. Absentee ballots must be received by county election officials no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, June 9, 2020 in order to be counted.