Election results in close races might not be known for days because of the time it takes to count every vote. State law gives county election officials until Nov. 13 to certify the election, and then Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger must finalize results by Nov. 20.
Handling absentee ballots ahead of time will reduce the number of ballots left after Election Day.
Absentee ballot processing must be open to the view of the public, but only designated election employees can touch ballots, according to the State Election Board rule.
Before the rule change, absentee ballots couldn’t be processed until Election Day in Georgia.
County election workers verify voter signatures and registration information when absentee ballots are returned, before they’re opened.
If ballots are rejected, election officials are required to quickly notify voters and give them time to correct problems. So far, just 261 returned absentee ballots had been rejected across Georgia through Sunday, according to state election records.
It’s not too late for voters to request and return absentee ballots to drop boxes located in about 120 counties across Georgia. Absentee ballots can be requested online at ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov or by filling out a form on the secretary of state’s website.
Completed absentee ballots must be received by county election officials by 7 p.m. Nov. 3 to be counted.
Three weeks of in-person early voting is also underway in every county in Georgia.