Federal judge says all absentee ballots need to be in on Election Day

Federal judge says all absentee ballots need to be in on Election Day

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A federal court has ruled that your absentee ballot has to be in the hands of county election officials by Election Day, Nov. 3, or it doesn’t count.

Widdi Turner told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray that she did not want to risk waiting for the mail.

“As soon as I got mine I filled it out. I followed the instructions, sealed it, and I’m here to drop it off,” Turner said.

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On Friday, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling and reinstated Georgia’s Election Day deadline for absentee ballots saying, “Staying the district court’s order here will prevent voter confusion.”

That means your ballot must be received by Election Day, not just postmarked.

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“The easiest thing to do is rely on the state law, and the state law has been the state law for 20 years and it’s very straightforward — you’ve got to get your absentee ballot back by 7 p.m. on Election Day,” said Georgia voter system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling.

The New Georgia Project filed a suit to extend the absentee ballot deadline, and after the legal ruling are still considering their next move.

“We should not punish Georgians. We should not disenfranchise Georgians because of predictable delays in the mail service,” the New Georgia Project’s Nse Ufot said.

All day long, voters lined up to register to vote in person in DeKalb County on the last day to do so.

Saluel Butler said he showed up to make sure his registration was up-to-date.

“I registered to vote, however my card never came, so I just came to verify, make sure everything was good,” Butler said.

Gray said he also saw many people using the absentee ballot drop boxes to avoid sending their ballots in the mail.

Election officials are recommending voters not wait until the last minute to get their ballots in.

In the June primary, nearly 10,000 ballots were not accepted because they arrived after Election Day.

Investigation finds some absentee ballots are being sent to wrong addresses, worrying voters