Over 1K absentee ballots never mailed to some Georgia voters
The Associated Press • February 7, 2013 2:46 pm
By ALYSON VAN DER HOORN, Associated Press
FELICITY KITCHENS, Ga.
With absentee ballots from Georgia set to be mailed to voters this week, the head of a state election board said he believed all the elections had been conducted fairly and without fraud.
But with more than 1,000 ballots left to be mailed, the board on Friday declared the state to have no evidence of voter fraud, an assessment that left some voters frustrated and could embolden critics of the vote-by-mail system.
“The situation is certainly far from perfect,” Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said. “I’ve been in this job for more than a decade and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Kemp spoke shortly after the board found that more than 1,000 absentee ballots from the March 17 congressional, state Senate and gubernatorial races were never mailed to voters in rural areas in eastern Georgia and that no county or office has a complete list of those who received an unmailed ballot.
Pushing back on Kemp and other critics who had questioned why there was not a complete list of voters who had never gotten a ballot, the board said it had not received confirmation of how many had been mailed to those areas. But it said it wanted to ensure all those who received an unmailed absentee ballot are contacted and provided with a mailed ballot.
The board also said it is considering an audit of all the ballots that were never mailed to an unmailed voter in order to determine whether a violation of state election laws took place.
The board said that it could not “automatically reject” an unmailed absentee ballot because many ballots had been received and it did not know how many should not be counted.
The issue of whether to count an unmailed ballot has come up in elections around the country. A 2011 investigation by