Columbus woman’s absentee ballot found in another state

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 9:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus woman said the absentee ballot she requested never reached her hands and ended up across state lines.

Columbus restaurant owner Janie Bell said the FBI contacted her about her absentee ballot being found in Opelika, Alabama.

Bell said someone called the FBI after finding her ballot in a bunch of mail that had been thrown out. She also has the document the FBI agent gave her, which states “one official Georgia absentee ballot addressed to Janie Bell.” At first, she said she thought it was a prank.

Bell said the federal agent first called over the phone to alert her about the ballot. Days later, the agent showed up at her door step with her ballot that had disappeared and ended up across the river.

“And I told him thank you. I really appreciate it. Everybody needs to know that these ballots are disappearing on us. It means a lot to me. We should all get out and vote,” Bell said.

Bell said she now plans to take her ballot in person to a polling place to be counted.

The Columbus Board of Elections verified if you do not received your absentee ballot in the mail before election day, all you have to do is show up at the polls on election day or at one of the early voting sites, tell a poll worker you want to cancel your absentee ballot, and you will be allowed to vote in person. If you have the ballot in hand and like Bell, and you want to hand deliver it yourself, that is also allowed.

News Leader 9 reached out to the FBI to verify that it was one of their agents who delivered Bell’s absentee ballot to her, but the PIO from the FBI said no comment.

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