Voting_Athens Academy

The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections voted 3-2 to replace the state's new voting system with paper ballots on Tuesday. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all 6.9 million of Georgia’s voters will be mailed absentee ballot request forms in an effort to let Georgians vote from home, the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a press release Tuesday.

“In doing so, Raffensperger will literally be dropping a way to vote in safety and security on each Georgia voter’s doorstep,” the release said.

If choosing to vote by absentee ballot, Georgia voters should fill out the mailed request form and return the application by mail.

Georgia delayed its presidential primary election — from March 24 to May 19 — on March 14 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As of noon on Tuesday, Georgia has 1,026 confirmed cases and 32 deaths resulting from COVID-19.

Early voting in Georgia began March 2. Georgians who have already voted in person or by mail for the March 24 presidential primary will be able to vote in the May 19 elections. If they choose not to vote again in the May 19 primary, their votes for the presidential primary will still count.

According to the release, people over the age of 65 and people with disabilities can request absentee ballots for all elections in the 2020 election cycle with the ballot request form to be mailed, such as the primary or general election. Other voters will need to submit another absentee ballot application for future elections.

Raffensperger is encouraging as many voters as possible to vote by mail, the release said.

Voters who rely on in-person voting — such as people without internet or mail access, the homeless, those in need of language assistance or people with disabilities — can still vote in-person, according to the release.

People voting in-person will be instructed to keep a safe distance when waiting to cast their vote, and poll workers will be supplied with additional resources to clean the equipment regularly. Alongside helping counties hire younger poll workers, these measures are meant to protect Georgia’s poll workers, who are generally senior citizens, the release said.

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