GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — More than a dozen state lawmakers representing Gwinnett County issued a letter Wednesday to the board of commissioners urging them to send absentee ballot request forms to all the voters in the county.
The step has been considered or proposed by a number of counties as a way to encourage mail-in voting amid the ongoing pandemic. For the June primaries, the Georgia Secretary of State's office mailed request forms to all Georgia voters, but will not be repeating that measure for the November general election.
The state said will unveil an online absentee request portal next week.
Twelve members of the Georgia House and three members of the Georgia Senate, all Democrats, signed the letter, which was posted to Twitter by state Rep. Sam Park.
In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that they “strongly urge the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to follow the bipartisan recommendation of the Gwinnett Board of Elections and send all active registered voters in Gwinnett an application for an absentee ballot to vote by mail.”
The measure, the letter states, would “protect and preserve our sacred Democracy by providing voters a safe and secure option to vote in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic” and “help reduce the burden on in-person voting.”
Park's tweet said the county board of commissioners would be deciding on the issue at its next meeting, which is scheduled for next Tuesday.
The letter was signed by state Reps. Scott Holcomb, Dar'shun Kendrick, Karen Bennett, Beth Moore, Pedro Marin, Brenda Lopez, Dewey McClain, Gregg Kennard, Donna McLeod, Shelly Hutchinson and Jasmine Clark; it was also signed by state Sens. Sally Harrell, Steve Henson and Zahra Karinshak.
The 12 state representatives constitute a majority of the county's Georgia House contingency of 18. None of the six Republicans signed it.
The county board of commissioners is composed of a 3-2 Republican majority.
Mail-in voting has become one of the most contentious issues around the election, with Democrats favoring a wide expansion of it and Republicans, behind President Trump's vocal lead, generally opposing its mass use. Earlier this month, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, criticized a DeKalb County proposal to send absentee ballot requests to all voters in the county, including those considered inactive.