Absentee ballots ‘mishandled’ by USPS returned to elections officials after delays

OGLETHORPE COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that ballots that were lost in the mail have now been recovered.

The Oglethorpe County Board of Elections reported a number of absentee ballots that voters mailed back in April never made it to the office. The primary election for local and state elections is scheduled for May 21.

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The board reported the issue to the Secretary of State. On Monday, both county and state officials confirmed that the ballots have now been returned to Oglethorpe County and are being processed.

“The ballots in question were mishandled by the USPS leading to a delay, but never left the custody of the postal service,” a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office told Channel 2 Action News.

The county board has not confirmed the exact number of ballots that were lost or for how long they were missing.


Channel 2 Action News has reported for months about ongoing issues with mail delays across north Georgia. Most of the problems connect back to a distribution center that opened in Palmetto earlier this year.

Frustrated customers told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that they have been waiting weeks and at time months for important mail to be delivered, including medications. Fernandes found that trucks full of mail were waiting outside the center for hours.

Georgia lawmakers from both sides have been demanding answers from USPS officials. Sen. Jon Ossoff wants to know what went wrong when USPS opened the Palmetto facility. Rep. Mike Collins has said he wanted to tour the facility along with U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy.

A U.S. Senate committee grilled DeJoy about the issues in Georgia during a hearing last month.

“Atlanta has been one of our worst. The Georgia area has been one of our worst-served areas over the last 10 years,” U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy said during the hearing.

“We had to move 2,000 people from all these different plants to one location and we had strict requirements as to when they move. It’s a big facility we opened up, we had inbound transportation issues,” DeJoy said.

The Oglethorpe County Board of Elections has not confirmed if the Palmetto distribution center led to its absentee ballot issues.

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