ATLANTA — As delays have been reported by some Georgia voters who are waiting for their absentee ballot, many people are wondering how they can assure their vote will count this year.
The Georgia Secretary of State's Office has set up an online portal to make it easy to request your ballot this year, and officials have said it's understandably drawn a large response amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some tips that can help with the tracking process:
Track your ballot
One of the simplest things you can do is track the ballot. The secretary of state's office has launched the ballottrax online portal where you should be able to follow the progress of your absentee ballot.
You just have to input your first name, last name, zip code and date of birth and it should bring up your information.
"Notification will be sent when the absentee ballot application is accepted, when the absentee ballot is sent, and if and when the absentee ballot is accepted or rejected," according to the secretary of state's office. "Voters whose absentee ballots are rejected will be provided with the contact information to fix the issue so they can be assured their vote will be counted."
It doesn't tell you exactly where your ballot is, though, so if you're still waiting around for it beyond when you think you should, that may not provide the most comfort.
Contact your county elections office
If something seems off, the first place you can try and get some guidance from is your county elections office.
They won't be able to tell you where your ballot is, but they can help walk you through what the next steps might be for fixing your issue.
They should be able to tell you, for instance, if it makes sense to simply request a ballot a second time.
Earlier this summer, Fulton County elections officials said the state's ElectioNet system should be able to automatically cancel an earlier ballot if it's been issued and somehow lost and re-issue a second one, if a second request comes in.
Contact an advocacy group
If you're finding that your county is not proving very helpful, there are groups specifically working to help people ensure their vote is counted in November.
One of the largest and most organized of those groups is Fair Fight Action, which was founded by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
The fair fight action Georgia hotline is 888-730-5816 - their representatives should be able to listen to your issue and try to work you through it.
Election deadlines to remember
If you're going to vote by mail in this election, remember in Georgia that you must request an absentee ballot by Oct. 30 at the latest, and it must be received by 7 p.m. on election night.
If you don't think you can get it mailed to your elections office in time, counties have established drop boxes where you can simply drop it off.
As a last resort, you can also cancel the ballot and vote in person
The Secretary of State's Office outlines this option:
If you have not received an absentee ballot, or if you have returned the absentee ballot, but the registrars have not received the ballot, you may cancel the absentee ballot by appearing in person before the registrar or absentee ballot clerk and making a written request to have the ballot marked “cancelled.” After satisfying themselves as to your identity, the registrars or absentee ballot clerk shall grant the request and notify the managers of your precinct to permit you to vote in person at that precinct. Canceled absentee ballots are handled in the same manner as those returned too late to be cast.
It may be possible in certain counties to show up to a precinct and get your absentee ballot canceled and then vote in person in one swoop. Contact your county registrar for clarification.