Every Franklin County voter will receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail ahead of the May 19 primaries, state and local elections officials said this week.
By Shane Scoggins
and Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
CARNESVILLE – Every Franklin County voter will receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail ahead of the May 19 primaries, state and local elections officials said this week.
Franklin County Elections Supervisor Gina Kesler said the state would mail out applications for absentee ballots to all active voters, while her office will also mail applications to any inactive voter on county rolls.
The unprecedented step will reinforce the social distancing public health officials are recommending in the midst of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
“Times of turbulence and upheaval like the one we Georgians face require decisive action if the liberties we hold so dear are to be preserved,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “Georgia has faced challenges before and overcome them, and we can do so again.”
The May 19 primaries will include local, state and federal races as well as the presidential preference primary, which was to be held Tuesday before being pushed back.
Kesler said that once a voter receives an application, he or she can fill it out, which will include picking which party’s primary they wish to participate in, and must pay for postage to send it back.
A state vendor will then mail out an absentee ballot, on which the voter can choose candidates.
The voter will have to pay for postage to send the ballot back to the Franklin County Board of Elections and Registrations Office in Carnesville.
Raffensperger said making it easier to vote by mail will help protect the health not only of voters but of poll workers.
The reluctance of poll workers, many of whom are elderly, to show up for the presidential primary was a key factor in the decision to postpone that vote until May 19.
For voters who prefer to cast their ballots in person, the secretary of state’s office is taking steps at each polling place to reduce the threat of COVID-19.
Poll workers will be given the materials they need to clean voting equipment regularly.
Also, the state will be helping counties add more and younger poll workers.
Voters age 65 and older and voters with disabilities will be able to request absentee ballots for this year’s primary and general elections as well as any runoffs that might be needed through the 2020 election cycle.
Kesler said that anyone with any question about their voter registration or the primaries may call her office at 706-384-4390.
Dave Williams is bureau chief for the Capitol Beat News Service. Capitol Beat is a resource provided by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.