New Georgia absentee ballot request forms require more ID

Absentee applications must include ID under Georgia voting law
A Fulton County elections worker prepares to count absentee ballots for Georgia’s Senate runoff elections at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta in January. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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A Fulton County elections worker prepares to count absentee ballots for Georgia’s Senate runoff elections at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta in January. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Georgia election officials released a new absentee ballot request form Tuesday that requires voters to submit a driver’s license number or other ID, a change mandated by the state’s voting law.

The updated absentee application, created by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, also adds a warning that voters face imprisonment or fines up to $100,000 if they provide false information.

The ID requirements for remote voting are part of Georgia’s voting law enacted after last year’s presidential election, when Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump by about 12,000 votes.

The absentee request form includes boxes for voters to fill in their nine-digit driver’s license or state ID numbers. For voters who lack those forms of ID, they would have to provide a copy of a different identification document.

The revised ballot request form was published after a handful of voters in Clayton County had already applied for absentee ballots using the previous form for a Sept. 21 special election for the County Commission and school board. Those nine voters will be issued absentee ballots and submit ID when they return them.

Before Georgia’s new ID requirements, absentee voters’ identities were verified based on their registration information and by comparing their signatures.

Besides a driver’s license or state ID, voters can submit copies of other forms of ID when requesting an absentee ballot, including a military ID card, a government employee ID card, a Georgia voter identification card, a U.S. passport, a current utility bill, a bank statement or a government check.

ID is required again when voters return their absentee ballots, and they can also use the last four digits of their Social Security numbers as identification during that part of the process.

About 272,000 voters — 3.5% of all registered Georgia voters — don’t have a driver’s license or state ID on file with election officials, meaning they’d have to submit different identification documents to request and cast absentee ballots.

All registered Georgia voters are eligible to vote absentee without having to provide an excuse. Georgia has required photo ID for in-person voting since 2008.

Georgia’s new absentee ballot request form is available on the elections section of the secretary of state’s website at https://sos.ga.gov/.

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