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Secretary of State's office mails absentee ballot applications

Complete the application, sign it, stamp it and return it in order to vote in the May 19 primary election

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spoke to reporters on Monday morning, primarily to address the mailing of absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the state.

Raffensperger spoke from Liberty Plaza, across from the Georgia State Capitol Building in downtown Atlanta.

The application is pre-populated with the voter's name and street address, along with the return mailing address of the county voting office they need to return the application to.

"Due to the Public Health Emergency brought on by COVID-19, opportunities to vote in person in the upcoming primary election may be limited," the application says. "To promote the safety and voting access of all Georgians, the Secretary of State is taking the unprecedented step of sending this Absentee Ballot Application to all voters for the May 19, 2020 primary."

To ensure accurate voter rolls, Raffensperger said, if an individual receives an application at their home address for someone who does not live there, they are advised to circle the address and mark "Does not live at this address" on the mailer before placing it back into their mailbox.

The mail carrier will return the application to the secretary of state's office, which will help them maintain accurate voter information, he said.

The application should be filled out and signed, then affixed with a stamp and returned to the registration office noted on the mailer.

In the event a voter does not have a stamp, they are permitted to scan or take a picture of the completed and signed application and email it to the address provided on the application. The email address is different for each county.

An absentee ballot will then be mailed to the voter for them to complete and return.

Raffensperger said his office is creating an Absentee Ballot Task Force to closely monitor the applications and absentee ballots and ensure there is not any fraud during the election. 

He said his office faces a unique challenge with the anticipated increase in the number of expected absentee ballots this year, but no one should underestimate the resources and courage his office has to face the challenge ahead.

The task force will include certified investigators who will be named as the election draws closer.

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