1.1 million absentee ballots mailed to Georgia voters

Voters waited three to five hours, at times in the rain, to cast ballots at New Beginnings Full Gospel Church during the Georgia primary. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The first wave of absentee ballots is in the mail this week to 1.1 million Georgia voters who requested them in advance of the presidential election.

The mass mailing of absentee ballots came after record numbers of voters embraced absentee voting as an alternative to going to the polls during the coronavirus pandemic. During the state’s primary, 1.15 million voters cast absentee-by-mail ballots, almost half of the total turnout.

Even more people are likely to vote absentee in the general election, when over 5 million Georgians are expected to participate either by mail or in-person.

ExploreQuestions answered about absentee voting in Georgia

Over half of this first batch of absentee ballots, about 582,000, are being automatically sent to voters over 65 or with disabilities. These are voters who checked a box on their absentee ballot applications earlier this year asking to be sent ballots for the rest of the election cycle.

The remainder are going to voters who either ordered them through the state’s absentee request website or returned paper forms to county elections offices.

Absentee ballots should begin arriving in voters' mailboxes next week. This initial mailing of ballots is coming from an Arizona-based vendor, Runbeck Election Services, and might take a few more days than local mail.

About 10,000 ballots were mailed Tuesday and 400,000 on Wednesday, with the rest scheduled to go out through the end of the week, according to the secretary of state’s office. Tuesday was the first day under Georgia law that absentee ballots could be sent to voters.

County election offices will take over the mailing of absentee ballots next month.

Absentee voting increased dramatically in the state’s primary, almost matching in-person voting. About 49% of voters cast absentee ballots in this year’s primary compared to 6% in the 2018 general election.

Request an absentee ballot

All registered voters are eligible to request an absentee ballot online at ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov, or by returning a paper application form available from the secretary of state’s website.

Once voters receive their absentee ballots, they can return them through the mail, at drop boxes set up in many counties, or at county election offices.

In Other News