Over 327K Georgia voters automatically sent absentee ballots

Fulton County employees continue to count mail-in ballots at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta the day after the state’s primary election. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Georgia election officials are automatically mailing absentee ballots for runoff elections to more than 327,000 voters, most of whom are over 65 years old or disabled.

The mass ballot mailings came as a result of record numbers of absentee voters in the June 9 primary.

These voters are being sent absentee ballots because they checked a box on their ballot application forms before the primary. State law allows older, disabled, overseas and military voters to automatically receive absentee ballots after making one request each year. All other Georgia voters can also use absentee ballots, but they must request them for each election.

More Republican Party voters than Democratic Party voters are being sent absentee ballots without having to request them again. That’s because the state’s automatic ballot list is primarily used by voters over 65, a group that tends to vote Republican.

Through Thursday, about 53% of absentee ballots were being sent to Republican voters, 44% to Democrats and 3% to nonpartisan voters, according to data from the state’s absentee voter list.

Election officials have so far accepted a total of 529,000 absentee ballot applications for the Aug. 11 runoff. By comparison, over 1.6 million voters requested absentee ballots in the initial primary.

Five states automatically mail ballots to all eligible voters: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Three weeks of early voting starts Monday for the runoff election, which includes races for the U.S. House, the General Assembly, district attorneys, sheriffs and judges.

Voters can apply for absentee ballots, find voting locations and review sample ballots on the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

How to vote absentee in Georgia’s runoff

  • Voters over 65, disabled, overseas or in the military will be sent absentee ballots automatically if they checked a box on their ballot applications before the June 9 primary.
  • All Georgia voters are eligible to request absentee ballots by filling out a form and returning it to election officials.
  • Absentee ballot request forms can be mailed, emailed, faxed or delivered in person to county election offices.
  • Request forms can be downloaded from the secretary of state’s website or the My Voter Page.
  • Addresses and contact information for county election offices can be found on the secretary of state’s website.
  • Some counties have set up drop boxes where voters can deliver their absentee ballots.
  • Absentee ballots will be counted if they’re received by county election officials by 7 p.m. on election day Aug. 11.

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