MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia county's election official has admitted failing to mail more than 1,000 absentee ballots to voters who asked for them.
Most of the Cobb County voters who weren’t sent their ballots will now have to vote in person on Election Day if they want to vote. The county is mailing ballots by overnight delivery to out-of-state voters, but ballots will only be counted if the county election's office receives them before polls close at 7 p.m., according to state law.
Elections Director Janine Eveler wrote in an email Friday to the county’s elections board that workers didn’t upload ballot information to a mailing machine, and ballots were never created nor sent on two days last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
There were 842 ballots that were supposed to be mailed Oct. 13 and 194 ballots on Oct. 22, the newspaper said.
“I am so sorry that this office let these voters down,” Eveler wrote. “Many of the absentee staff have been averaging 80 or more hours per week and they are exhausted. Still, that is no excuse for such a critical error.”
Of the 1,036 voters who weren’t sent ballots, about 250 of them instead voted in-person during early voting, state election data showed.
Madison Cook, a Cobb resident and student at Mississippi State University who applied for an absentee ballot, said in a statement to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, “There are many students like me who can’t come home to vote in person.
“I would drive more than 500 miles round trip to vote, but my car is in the shop. Despite my best efforts, it looks like I will be unable to cast a vote in this election.”
Across Georgia, about 279,000 voters requested absentee ballots and 76% of them have been returned. In Cobb, 69% of 30,000 absentee ballots requested have been returned.