Investigation reveals over 1,000 absentee ballots never mailed, Cobb Elections officials say

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — An investigation by Elections officials revealed the Cobb election office failed to mail more than 1,000 absentee ballots.

This discovery comes after some Cobb County residents reported that they had not received the absentee ballots they requested.

Elections and Registrations Director Janine Eveler blames this situation on human error.

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“I am sorry that this office let these voters down,” Eveler said in a message to the Board of Elections and Registration. “Many of the absentee staff have been averaging 80 or more hours per week, and they are exhausted. Still, that is no excuse for such a critical error.”

The investigation determined that 1,046 requested absentee ballots were never mailed.

On Friday, Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spoke with a Cobb County resident in Washington D.C. who requested an absentee ballot, but never received it.

Alyse Martin, 20, is studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She requested her absentee ballot in September. Cobb County said it was issued Oct. 11.

“I still don’t have it, and it’s Friday, and Election Day is on Tuesday,” Martin said.

Cobb County officials acknowledged in a message on their YouTube Channel Thursday that they are getting similar calls about missing absentee ballots.

“Once it goes out in the mail, we really don’t know what the problem might be,” Cobb County election officials said.

Elections staff said they overnighted absentee ballots to 83 out-of-state addresses and included pre-paid overnight return envelopes. They had already overnighted ballots to 194 residents from that group who had requested ballots. Records show another 271 residents in that group had canceled their ballot request and voted during Advance Voting.

The county is urging the remaining 498 residents to vote in person on election day.

Cobb Elections officials said they will be contacting the impacted voters by email or phone to inform them of the situation and to direct them to their election day polling place.

“I am very disappointed that we have placed these voters in a position where they may not have an opportunity to cast their ballots in this general election,” said Board of Elections Chair Tori Silas. “While human error was clearly a factor, I believe reduced time frames for the receipt of requests for and processing of absentee ballot provided under SB202, as well as the turnover in the Elections office, are also significant factors.”

Salis said with only three days until election day, they are taking every possible step to make sure voters have an opportunity to cast their ballots.

“Following this election, I will join other members of the board of elections to oversee a review of the absentee ballot process and work with Ms. Eveler and her staff to improve the county’s absentee ballot process to reduce the likelihood of this type of error occurring in the future,” said Salis.