Inside Look on Process of Requesting Absentee Ballots

Forsyth County — Elections are less than 60 days away and many people still have questions about Absentee Ballots.

WSB completed an absentee ballot for Forsyth County and received some great information on voting during the pandemic.

How to properly complete the Absentee Ballot Application:

· The date of the election/runoff that you are requesting the ballot for. Upcoming Election Dates: 11/3/20-General Election, 12/1/20-possible Runoff, 1/5/21-possible Runoff

· Voter Registration # is NOT REQUIRED. This information will be entered by Elections Office staff upon receipt of your application.

· Voter’s Name: REQUIRED

· Voter’s Residence Address as registered: REQUIRED

· Voter’s Mailing Address, if different from residence address

· Voter’s Date of Birth

· Type of Ballot: NOT REQUIRED for the remaining elections in 2020; this information is only required for Primary. Whether this field is left blank or completed has no impact on your application being processed.

· Contact information: phone number and/or email address where you can be reached. Please write clearly. While not required, this information can be extremely helpful and expedite our office being able to get in touch with you when there is an issue/question about your application and/or voted ballot.

· Voter’s Signature: REQUIRED - the signature on your Application is compared to the signature on your voter registration record on file prior to a ballot being issued. Simply typing the voter’s name into this field is not acceptable. Applications missing a signature and/or with a typed name instead of a signature will not be processed. A letter/call/email will be issued to explain there is missing information.

· A relative may submit an Absentee Ballot Application for a voter, IF the voter is disabled and/or temporarily residing outside the county. If either of these circumstances applies, the requestor will need to complete that section of the Application.

· By checking the box indicating the voter is Elderly (65 years old/older), Disabled, or in the Military and/or living Overseas this will prompt ballots to automatically be mailed for the remainder of the elections in this election cycle. By checking either of these boxes, it will not be necessary to submit a new Absentee Ballot Application prior to the next election.

· If you realize information was omitted please resubmit your application as soon as possible.

How do I know if my Application met all the requirements?

· Go to www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. Login by entering your information. On your “My Voter Page” look under “Click here for Absentee Ballot status.” This will show if your application was accepted and if so, when your ballot was mailed. This website will be updated by September 21, 2020 – see below under ‘When will my ballot be mailed to me?’ for additional details. Our office is receiving thousands of absentee ballot applications, we appreciate your patience while these applications are processed and entered into the system.

How will I receive my ballot?

· In the mail -- it’s the law!

When will my ballot be mailed to me?

· If you have a properly completed application on file with our office before the last week in September then your ballot will be mailed approximately between September 21 and September 30, 2020. If you submit a properly completed application after approximately September 30, 2020 then your ballot will be mailed to you within three business days of our office receiving your application. This email reply and our website will be updated once we have a definite date when ballots will be mailed.

What if I do not receive my ballot in a timely fashion?

· If, after a reasonable amount of time, you have not received your ballot or follow up communication from our office, do not delay -- contact our office. There is a process to re-issue a ballot lost in the mail. It is better to start that process sooner rather than later.

What do I do when I receive my paper absentee ballot?

· Follow the instructions included with your ballot and do not forget to SIGN the ‘Oath of Elector’ and Print Your Name on the back of the yellow envelope. The style of envelope can vary by election; look for the Signature line on the flap of the envelope. The signature on the ballot Oath is compared to the signature on your previous registration(s). If that information is missing or does not match your signature on file, your ballot could be rejected.

· Keep in mind that the Voter must sign/make their mark on the Oath of Elector.

· Please be advised: a voter may receive assistance with completing the ballot and the assistor will need to sign on the appropriate line on the Oath of Elector on the ballot return envelope; however, the voter’s mark is required in order for a voter’s ballot to count. There are no provisions in Georgia Election Code for a Power of Attorney (POA) signing on behalf of the voter.

How quickly do I need to return my voted ballot to your office?

· You may return your voted absentee ballot as soon as you have made your selections, completed and signed the ‘Oath of Elector’ and are able to mail or personally deliver it to our office. The latest you may return your voted ballot is Election Day, which means it must be in our office before the polls close at 7pm on Election Day in order to be accepted. The postmark date does NOT count.

Where/How can I return my voted absentee ballot? (Forsyth County)

· Voted absentee ballots may be returned by mail or they may be deposited into the Official Absentee Ballot Drop Box available at the Forsyth County Elections Office located at 1201 Sawnee Drive, Cumming, 30040. The Drop Box is available to voters 24 hours a day. This allows voters the opportunity to return their absentee ballot contact-free. No postage is required if your ballot is returned using the Ballot Drop Box at the Elections Office.

How do I know if my voted absentee ballot was received by your office?

· Contact us. We are happy to verify that information for you. To check it out online, go to www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. Login by entering your information. On your “My Voter Page” click on “Click here for Absentee Ballot status” under the ‘Absentee Ballot Request Information’ header. This will show if and when your voted ballot was received. Please allow several days after you return your ballot to the Elections Office for this site to be updated.

What if I request a ballot be mailed to me and then I decide I want to vote in person?

· You can do that. If you have received your ballot, take it with you to the polling place and surrender it to the poll worker. Your absentee ballot will be cancelled in the system and then you will be allowed to vote in person on the election equipment.

· If you did not receive your ballot yet or it has been lost/destroyed, you will be instructed by the poll worker to complete an Affidavit attesting to not having your ballot in your possession. After the poll worker contacts the Elections Office and confirms you have not already returned your voted ballot, your absentee ballot will be cancelled in the system and then you will be allowed to vote in person on the election equipment.

· There are checks and balances in place throughout the process to ensure each voter casts just one ballot.

· If the Elections Office has already received your properly submitted voted absentee ballot, then you have been given credit for voting and the ballot you returned to the Elections Office will be counted. In this case, you will not be allowed to vote in person.

When is the absolute last day I can turn in an Application to have an absentee ballot mailed to me?

· The last Friday before the Tuesday election date. There is no voting the Saturday, Sunday or Monday before Election Day.

When will my voted absentee ballot be opened?

· All absentee ballots remain sealed and under lock and key until the designated start time for opening ballots. And, yes, all absentee ballots submitted according to GA law are counted in the final totals for every election.

What is a Runoff?

· A Runoff is necessary when there are three or more candidates in a race on the ballot and no one candidate receives the majority of the votes. A majority equals 50 percent of the votes plus one vote. The Runoff is between the top two vote getters in the race.

Will there be a Runoff after the General Election &/ the Special Election to fill the unexpired term of a US Senate seat?

· There will not be a Runoff for the office of President of the United States; however, if a Runoff is needed for any county/state race, the Runoff date is set for December 1. If a Runoff is needed for any federal race, the Runoff date is January 5, 2021.

How can I find out if a Runoff election is needed?

· After the results are tallied you may check our website or contact our office.

Will I automatically be mailed a ballot for the Runoff and/or the other elections in the 2020 election cycle since I am receiving my ballot by mail this time?

· MAYBE. If you checked the box on the application letting us know you are elderly, disabled or in the military/living overseas you will automatically be mailed a ballot for the Runoff, if one is called, as well as for all other scheduled elections in the 2020 election cycle; OTHERWISE, you will need to complete a separate and distinct application requesting a ballot for any future election.

Please contact your county voter registrations and elections office with any questions.

Download Absentee Ballot Form here.

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