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Atlanta Civic Circle Democracy Latest Reports Raisa Habersham

Absentee dropboxes will be used during runoff elections

By Raisa Habersham

The Georgia State Election Board has extended the use of absentee ballot boxes for the January runoff elections. The board also authorized counties to process absentee ballots eight days before the Jan. 5 runoffs. The two emergency rules were set to expire just before the runoffs.

“Rather than basically change how things have been done this year, I think it’s the best course of action to continue them through the January fifth election,” Board member Ryan Germany said during the meeting. “They were both put in place, of course, due to just the massive increase in absentee ballots that Georgia elections experienced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While counties can start processing and scanning absentee ballots, they cannot begin tabulation, as prohibited by Georgia law. A third item on the agenda focused on a residency rule will instead be issued to county elections registrars as a bulletin. 

Germany said after the election, there were concerns about people moving to Georgia to cast ballots. Whether joking or not, Germany said it is “a serious thing nonetheless.”

 “The problem is if people sort of take steps to make it look like they moved to Georgia, and haven’t actually and then vote absentee, it can be difficult to catch,” he said. 

According to state law, county registrars can determine the qualifications of people who are registering to vote, including being a resident of Georgia and of the county, where they are registering.

The rule drafted by the board reiterated an existing law on Georgia’s books.

“After speaking internally with the AD office, we determined that it’d be better to do it as an official election bulletin. It’s just kind of sending forth what’s already in the law product rather than an emergency rule. We think that will accomplish the purpose that we want it to.”

Residents can listen to the full meeting here.

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