Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s plan to have Georgians vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic seems to be a hit among voters. The secretary of state’s office reported more than 1 million Georgians have requested absentee ballots, shattering all previous records in the state.
“Our goal was to keep voters safe and take the pressure off of our in-person voting locations,” Raffensperger said Thursday in a Capitol news conference. “We have more than achieved that goal.”
Raffensperger hailed the initiative as a bold step to protect voters and poll workers, citing using his authority to delay the primary election to June 9 and to mail absentee ballot applications to 6.9 million active registered voters.
The secretary of state applauded voters for following his lead to vote absentee, most for the first time.
As of Thursday, more than 1 million voters have requested absentee ballots, and 700,000 ballots have already been sent.
Why it Matters: In times of crisis it is essential that voters have the opportunity to choose their leaders. However, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to keep voters at home during the all-important task of choosing the country’s next president. The state’s plan to have voters vote by mail only works if voters are willing to participate. A record number of voters requesting absentee ballots shows that Georgia voters support voting by mail and will participate in elections even if in-person voting is limited or not possible due to health risks.
In 2016, Georgia’s last statewide general primary in a presidential election year, voters cast just 37,231 absentee ballots. The number of absentee ballot requests is already more than 30 times that and growing.
For more information about the status of your absentee ballot, visit My Voter Page, mvp.sos.ga.gov.