Paulding County

State, local election officials urging voters to get absentee ballots in early over postal problems

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has been reporting on mail delays at the U.S. Postal Service center in Palmetto in South Fulton for weeks.

And now our reporting is prompting state elections workers to encourage people to get absentee ballots early and track them for the upcoming May primary election.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joined elections officials in Paulding County Friday as part of a joint exercise on election security.

But everyone was talking about the problems about an hour south of Dallas at the brand-new postal facility in Palmetto, where only 36% of mail coming through there is delivered on time.

“We realized there was a problem when we got ballots after the March 12 Presidential Primary that were postmarked back in February,” Paulding County elections supervisor Deidra Holden said.

Holden was so worried about the mail service, that she contacted her Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

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Just this week, we saw Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff grill the postmaster general over the delivery delays.

Raffensperger is just as concerned, especially when it comes to absentee ballots. He’s encouraging voters to apply for them early and track them using “ballottrax.”

But he said some counties are working directly with their local post offices to keep Palmetto out of the loop altogether.

“All the absentee ballot applications and ballots for that county are going to be handled locally instead of coming to the big sorting facility, so that’s something that they’ve done locally, working on. You’ll see that county elections directors are very proactive on that,” Raffensperger said.

Holden is encouraging her voters who vote absentee to have a family member bring it back.

“I do want to encourage the voters if they did get an absentee ballot, to have one of their family members return it for them, lock it in, or use one of our drop boxes during the early voting hours,” Holden said.

The postmaster general told Ossoff that he thinks they’ll have the problems worked out here within 60 days. We’re about 30 days from that primary election.

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