Chattahoochee Valley seeing record number of absentee ballots

Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:13 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Due to COVID-19, there are lots of voters choosing to vote absentee.

Muscogee County elections supervisor, Nancy Boren, said she has already received roughly 17,000 absentee ballots out of the 131,000 registered voters, but if you have one and have not returned it, now may be a good time to make sure it gets in on time.

“If you want to stick it in the mail, you should do that now because it takes a couple of days," Boren said. "We have to have it in our office by 7 p.m. on election day.”

In Muscogee County, there is also the option of dropping off your absentee ballot at any of the five absentee drop boxes: two at the City Services Center, the others at the Frank D. Chester Recreation Center, Columbus Health Department, and the most recent addition at the Trade Center Box Office.

In Russell County, Alabama, they are also breaking records for this election period with absentee ballots.

Nearly 3,000 absentee ballots have already been returned back, according to Jody Sellers, Russell County Circuit Court clerk.

“The first one when Obama ran, that was our biggest year and it was only 900. So, yes we have tripled, quadrupled in number and I’m sure most of it is due to COVID,” Sellers said.

In Alabama, there is no early voting, only absentee and you have to have a reason, like health concerns, when you request it. Otherwise, Sellers said you might be turned around.

“Several folks have said no, I don’t have a reason and just wanted to come early vote and did not want to use COVID. So, they would have to go to the ballot boxes on election day,” Sellers said.

The last day for voters to vote absentee or hand their ballots in-person at the Russell County Judicial Court is Thursday.

The other option voters have is to mail in their ballot with a postmark no later than Nov. 2.

In Muscogee County, you can still vote early in person even if you received an absentee ballot in the mail. Just make sure you let the poll workers know when you arrive at the polling place.

To help things run smoother on election day, Boren said she and her staff have already started to do some of the leg work getting ballots ready.

“State elections board recently passed a rule allowing election officials to begin counting absentee ballots because of the number of absentee ballots that we have," Boren said. “So, we started that process last Monday. So, we have had a sequestered group opening ballots and running them through a tabulator. They are not counted, they are not tabulated in any way whatsoever. It is just a process so we can get them ready to be counted on election day.”

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