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More than 1 million votes already cast in Georgia Primary

Marty Goetz prepares voting screens as they start to set up a polling place. (File photo)
Marty Goetz prepares voting screens as they start to set up a polling place. (File photo) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

With early voting continuing in advance of Tuesday’s Georgia primary and millions of absentee ballots outstanding, the Secretary of State announced Thursday that more than 1 million votes have already been received.

Elections officials have already received the most absentee votes of any election in state history, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

As COVID-19 has complicated elections in other states, state and local elections officials have maintained numerous different avenues for Georgia voters to exercise their right to vote.

In-person voting continues | What’s on the Georgia Primary ballot?

“Though we encourage anyone who has requested an absentee ballot to return it by mail or submit it in a dropbox, we look forward to providing safe in-person voting on Election Day as well," Raffensperger said.

Georgia voters have already cast 1,033,585 ballots. Of those, 810,024 were absentee by mail ballots, nearly 80% of the ballots cast so far. The significant surge in absentee by mail ballots demonstrates the speed and efficiency with which election workers and voters alike adapted to COVID-19.

All precincts will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Absentee ballots must be received by a county elections office no later than 7 p.m. that day in order to be counted.

The surge in absentee ballots by mail comes following efforts to allow Georgians to vote in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Though more than 800,000 Georgians have submitted absentee ballots by mail so far -- more than 20 times the 37,000 who voted that way in 2016 -- another 223,561 have cast their ballots in person.

The Secretary of State’s office purchased and distributed 35,000 masks for election workers in addition to other personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies. County elections offices are also able to apply for millions in grants to purchase PPE and sanitation supplies on the local level. Additional grants are available to support election infrastructure such as extra tables, dividers or even tape to mark safe social distancing.

These supplies will help make it possible for in-person voting to continue safely during the COID-19 pandemic.

To help anticipate the surge in absentee ballot requests, the Secretary of State’s office mailed 6.9 million absentee ballot request forms to active Georgia voters. To further ease the burden on the counties, the secretary secured vendors to print and mail the absentee ballots as well.

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