Some elections officials call absentee ballot injunction 'unworkable'

Judge changes the way some Georgia absentee ballots are handled

ATLANTA — A federal judge is stepping in and changing the way some absentee ballots are handled.

In her injunction granted by Judge Leigh May on Thursday, she said state and county elections officials may no longer reject absentee ballots due to a mismatched signature.

Counties must now treat those ballots as provisional ballots. They must contact the voter quickly, prior to the official certification of the election. They must also set up an appeals process for that voter.

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Both the secretary of state’s office and Gwinnett County filed objections to that injunction earlier Thursday, calling the injunction “unworkable."

The American Civil Liberties Union asked for the injunction.

Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot spoke to their attorney, Sean Young, about logistical problems the state has raised about the ruling.

Young said there’s already an appeals process for absentee ballots after an election, so this shouldn’t change anything.

“There is an existing state law that allows people to challenge absentee votes if they believe they are ineligible to vote. That hearing has to occur before certification, but that law also allows for an appeals process to happen afterwards,” Young said.

While waiting outside federal court Thursday, Elliot got a call from Cynthia Willingham, Rockdale County’s elections supervisor.

Willingham told Elliot over the phone that the injunction shouldn’t affect them since they’ve had no absentee rejections but will affect larger counties.

“They perhaps would have rejection applications, absentee applications as well as rejected ballots that they may have to go back and look at and start a provisional process,” Willingham said.

Elliot tried to contact elections for counties including DeKalb and Fulton but did not hear back.