Inside the Vote: Mail-in voting security

More than 1.5 million Georgians have requested an absentee ballot for the November 3 election. But rhetoric surrounding the mail-in voting process has some concerned about its security.

However, Georgia has safeguards in place to ensure everyone's vote is counted, and counted just once.

What safeguards are in place to make sure my vote is secure?

Forget the face mask and skip the line, more Georgians than ever before have requested an absentee by mail ballot. 

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says that is a key difference between Georgia and some other states that offer voting by mail.

"We don't do universal mailing of live ballots to everyone. You request it, then we send you a ballot and then when it comes back to this office, it'll be matched with your signature and so we have the appropriate guardrails in place," Raffensperger said.

In fact, county elections workers match voters' signatures twice, first on their absentee ballot application and second on the back of the absentee ballot envelope. If that signature doesn't match the one the state has on file, officials reject it.


Though voters do have up until three days after the election to remedy the problem.

For those worried their ballot might get lost in the mail, voters can drop it off in person at their county elections office or use one of the county's new secure ballot drop boxes.

State law requires the boxes be located on government property and monitored by video surveillance 24 hours a day. And election workers regularly collect the ballots inside.

You can check that the county has received and accepted your ballot on the Secretary of State's My Voter Page.

What if I request an absentee ballot but want to vote in person?

If you request an absentee ballot and then decide you would rather vote in person, you should bring that ballot with you to the polls so workers can cancel it.

If you don't, poll workers have to call the county elections office to cancel the ballot electronically, and you have to sign an affadavit swearing you will not send it in.

Erica Hamilton, Director of Voter Registration and Elections for DeKalb County, says anyone who has already voted absentee and then shows up in person will be turned away.


"The system catches it. So if you voted an absentee ballot, we're going to tell you you've already voted an absentee ballot.  The same thing happens on Election Day," she said. "It'll tell you you've already accepted your absentee ballot, sorry."  

But the system, it seems, isn't perfect.

"We have found some potential double voting in our state, which is unacceptable," Raffensperger said.


Last month, Secretary Raffensperger announced an investigation by his office revealed more than a thousand people voted twice in either the June primary or August runoff election. But according to the Secretary of State's Office, their safeguards worked in 99.9% of cases where someone tried to cast a ballot more than once.

One voter told the FOX 5 I-Team he voted twice on purpose to test the system, though it is not clear whether the rest of those 1,300 voters meant to do it or if it was simply a mistake. Either way, the Secretary of State's Office says double voting is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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