Ga. Secretary of State encourages use of absentee ballots after COVID-19 causes election office closures

Ga. Secretary of State encourages use of absentee ballots after COVID-19 causes election office closures

APPLING COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Appling County Board of Elections had to close its office after a person who came to cast their ballot tested positive for COVID-19.

And in McDuffie County, two election workers tested positive for the virus.

These two offices closed for deep cleaning, but now Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is encouraging Georgia voters to use the absentee ballot.

“That just highlights the situation that we have with COVID-19. I know that as we’re re-entering and reengaging in society, many people think that it’s all over, but people are still being diagnosed with COVID and if it hits election office then you end up with a situation where you have to shut down,” Raffensperger said.

Both locations were sanitized and will reopen on Tuesday. Raffensperger said these two cases are why they sent out 6.9 million absentee ballot applications. So far, they have received more than 500,000 absentee ballots with another one million still out.

“The safest place and the healthiest place to vote right now is probably at your kitchen table where you have that absentee ballot right there. If you haven’t filled it out, we encourage you to go ahead and fill it out, sign your name, drop it in the mail, get it back to us before Tuesday, June 9,” Raffensperger said.

While they are encouraging you to vote by mail, others are still doing so in-person, about 60,000 people so far. The Secretary of State says they are taking precautions at polling locations with masks, gloves, disinfectants, and more. But they have invested in absentee ballot security during this pandemic.

“We also have stood up our absentee ballot fraud task force, so if we hear about anything, we will investigate because we know voters will want to have confidence in the election process. They want to know, they want to make sure that when they vote that their vote is counted and hasn’t been diluted by someone else committing some sort of fraud,” Raffensperger said.

Secretary Raffensperger said Memorial Day is a reminder of the brave men and women who fought for our freedom to vote-, and encourages you to participate in this election season though it will be different.

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