Georgia Democratic Party pushes for mail-in elections amid coronavirus

One day after Georgia's Secretary of State announced the May 19 primary has been postponed until June 9 because of the coronavirus, Democrats said that was not enough to protect voters.  

"Delaying an election by three weeks gives us no certainty that this pandemic will be over and that Georgians will be safe to show up at the polls," said Georgia Democratic Party Chair Nikema Williams.

Instead, Georgia Democrats would prefer for the state to move to all mail-in ballots through the end of the year.

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The state already sent millions of absentee ballot request forms to active voters across the state, but the Democratic Party believes Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger should expand the mail-in vote efforts.  They want the state to send absentee ballots, rather than request forms and want all registered voters to get them, not just those considered "active."

Saira Draper, who serves as director of voter protection for the Georgia Democratic Party, said they also want the state to pay for return postage for absentee ballots.  That way, voters do not have to go to the post office, nor risk their ballot being returned for insufficient postage.  

"Part of the concern is that different ballots in different counties will cost different amounts," explained Draper.  "So, counties with heavier ballots, larger ballots, like perhaps, Gwinnett because of the Spanish and the English or Fulton County that has a lot of races this cycle--that ballot will cost more to send back than a ballot in a smaller county and that causes a lot of voter confusion."  

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In a news release Wednesday, Secretary Raffensperger acknowledged delaying the primary would not address every issue. 

“I certainly realize that every difficulty will not be completely solved by the time in-person voting begins for the June 9 election, but elections must happen even in less than ideal circumstances," said Raffensperger.

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