The state will mail absentee ballot request forms to Georgia’s 6.9 million voters in an effort to allow as many as possible to exercise their right to vote without leaving their homes. They will simply have to fill out and return the application to vote by mail in the upcoming elections with no in-person risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Georgia’s most vulnerable, those over age 65 and those with a disability, can request absentee ballots for the primary and general election as well as all elections through the 2020 election cycle with this one application. Other voters will need to submit another application for future elections.
This effort to ensure all Georgians can vote without fear for their health will supplement extra measures to ensure those who rely on in-person voting to access the ballot can do so safely. Some rely on in-person voting to exercise their right to vote privately and securely.
People without internet or mail access, such as those experiencing homelessness; Georgians who need language assistance; and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast their ballot will still be able to do so in person on the state’s new voting system.
Additionally, research from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law shows that eliminating “in-person voting could disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latino, and young voters”. Their right to vote too needs protection.
To that end, Georgia is taking extra steps to limit the threat of COVID-19 at the polling place. Poll workers will receive additional resources to clean the equipment regularly. In-person voters who show up to vote in person will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.