How COVID-19 has changed the way your votes will be counted

Illustration by Natalie Pimentel

For the first time in Georgia history, presidential primaries and general elections will only be held via mailed-in ballots.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has decided to extend the election date to June 9 with early voting beginning on May 18. Absentee ballots will be mailed to people in hopes to restrain voters from engaging with large groups at polling stations.

Previously, the Georgia presidential primaries were scheduled for March 24. The date was initially pushed to May 19, allowing both the elections to be held together.

Mailed absentee ballots still have the May 19 date on the document but they are valid for the new June 9 date.

“Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The state has also extended the voter registration period to May 11. People can register to vote or check their voter status on the Georgia Online Voter Registration website.

In order to receive an absentee ballot, voters have to fill out the request form.

Completed forms can be emailed as an attachment or mailed to the county registrar. Fulton County allows mailed forms. However, the option to email completed forms is not available for all counties.

According to a statement released by the Young Democrats at Georgia State, the request form must be submitted by 5 p.m. on May 14. After the form has been submitted, voters will receive their paper ballot in the mail to fill out. The paper ballot must be mailed back and postmarked by May 19 in order for the votes to be counted. 

Any ballot received after the polls close cannot be counted.

For more information on county regulations, people can visit their respective county website. 

The Fulton County registrar office address is 141 Pryor St. SW Atlanta, GA 30303. 

Voters may submit a written request for an absentee ballot by providing their personal information: name, date of birth, registration address, type of election (presidential preference primary and general primary), name of party ballot being requested, date of election and a personal signature. 

Are Georgia State students ready to submit their ballots by mail?

Georgia State students in residence halls who previously assigned their dorm location as their primary mail carrier are required to change their mailing address as soon as possible. 

According to an email sent by Georgia State University Housing, students were required to pick up any mail or packages from the mailrooms by March 29. Any mail left after the cutoff date has been sent to its original carrier.

If students would like to have their paper mail forwarded to a new address, they can contact university housing

Students who apply for absentee ballots through the university’s mailing address will not receive their ballots at all.