COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With just 36 days to go until Election Day, absentee voting for the presidential election is underway in the Peach State with some Georgia voters starting to receive their absentee ballots in the mail. According to the Secretary of State’s office, absentee ballots can be requested up until the end of the business day on the Friday before Election Day.
Tamika Geist, Muscogee County Office of Elections and Registration Assistant Director, says the most common mistake voters make when filling out an absentee ballot is voters marking a selection for a candidate the they did not mean to vote for, marking that out and then marking the candidate they meant to choose.
Geist says another common mistake when filling out an absentee ballot is voters circling or making check marks in the bubble next to their choices instead of filling in the bubble. She encourages absentee voters to look at a sample ballot to use as a guide to help minimize mistakes.
According to Geist, the most important thing for absentee voters to do is sign or make their mark on the yellow oath envelope the ballot is in when it is returned. The completed ballot can be hand delivered to the Elections Office or mailed. Giest says only one stamp is needed to return the completed absentee ballot by mail.
Another option is to drop the ballot off at one of the four ballot drop boxes throughout Columbus. There is a walk-up box at the entrance of the City Services Center when entering from the parking garage. There is also a drive-up box at the exit of the parking garage on the driver’s side at the City Services Center. There is another walk-up box on Veterans Pkwy at the Columbus Health Department’s new building. There is a drive-up box at the Frank Chester Recreation Center.
Georgia voter Patricia Ashely’s absentee ballot came in the mail this past week and she filled it out Monday.
“You have to be sure to read the instructions before you start making any marks on that ballot," Ashley said.
Ashley is part of a record number of Georgians expected to vote absentee in the general election.
“In person voting is not a good thing for our family because we both have underlying health conditions and it’s just not a wise thing for us to go stand in a line for hours and hours with the COVID pandemic," she explained.
“Historically, absentee was 4 to 6%, and now, it’s going to be 40-60%. So that’s a big uptick, and essentially where we are with the pandemic," said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Ashley says she plans to take her completed ballot to a drop box.
“They are having a little difficulty with the timeline of mail so we just think it’s more expedient to take them to the drop box," she said.
The ballot drop of boxes will be open until 7:00pm on Election Day.