Secretary of State to Mail Absentee Ballots to Every Registered Voter For May Primary

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced he will be mailing absentee ballot request forms to every Georgia voter to ensure all Georgians can vote in the May Primary without fear for their health.

Raffensperger made the announcement Tuesday on the Secretary of State Web site.

The Secretary of State noted that with social distancing as the most important tool for limiting the spread of coronavirus, providing alternatives to voting in person is crucial.

All Georgia voters can request and vote an absentee ballot for any reason.

Franklin County Elections Supervisor Gina Kesler said the absentee applications will come from a vendor.

“All of the applications will be mailed from a State vendor and from my office,” Kesler said. “Once those are filled out by the voter, they will send them to my office (or their local registrar’s office) and we will mail out their absentee ballot.”

Raffensperger will send absentee ballot request forms to Georgia’s 6.9 million voters in an effort to allow as many Georgia voters as possible to exercise their right to vote without leaving their homes.

Kesler said as of now, the State is planning to hold early voting for the May Primary beginning on April 27.

And she says in addition to the State sending out absentee applications to voters her office will also be sending them out to those who have not voted in the last couple of elections.

“For inactive voters who are registered in our county will be receiving their absentee ballot applications from our office. We about 528 registered, but inactive voters,” she said.

Inactive voters who are still registered are those citizens who have not voted in the last several elections.

Now, these latest guidelines from the Secretary of State’s office are subject to change and Kesler said while her office is closed to the public, she is still available to answer questions.

“If voters and residents in Franklin County have any questions please call our office,” Kesler said. “Our office is closed to the public, but we are still here working. So please call, email or fax us if you have any questions about anything.”

The number for the Franklin County Board of Elections and Registrations office is 705-384-4390.

In Hart County, contact Elections Supervisor Robin Webb at 706-376-8911.

And while Secretary Raffensperger is encouraging as many voters as possible to vote by mail, some rely on in-person voting to exercise their right to vote privately and securely.

Georgians who need language assistance; the homeless, and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast their ballot will still be able to do so in person on the state’s new voting system.

Kesler said on Primary Day, all precinct polling places will be open and there will be safeguards in place for the poll workers, most of whom are older.

“The State is providing cleaning kits with disinfectant, gloves, and hand sanitizer to every County for poll workers who will then sanitize voting machines and countertops before and after voters use them,” she explained.

Additionally, in-person voters who show up to vote in person will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.