Every Georgia voter will be mailed an absentee ballot application for the May 19 primary, a step the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office announced Tuesday, March 24, as part of its efforts to address concerns about COVID-19.
Voters older than 65 and those with a disability can request absentee ballots for all 2020 elections with the one application. Other voters will need to submit another application for future elections.
“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 in a statement.
In the 2016 and 2018 November elections, about 95% of Georgia voters went to the polls in person, while 5% chose to vote by mail. Voting absentee by mail is an alternative to voting in person during a time in which gathering in groups more than 10 has been limited in most cases in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Although voters are encouraged to use an absentee ballot, the polls are still set to open.
Poll workers will get additional supplies to clean the equipment regularly. In-person voters will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.
The Secretary of State’s Office is working with counties to hire more, particularly younger, poll workers. The elderly are a higher-risk population in the COVID-19 pandemic. Having extra staff available will mean those who are not feeling well can stay home.
All Georgia voters can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail for any reason.
Compiled from Georgia Secretary of State’s Office press release