Chatham County Board of Registrars talks about absentee ballot security

Chatham County Board of Registrars talks about absentee ballot security

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Monday will mark three months until voters head to the polls for the November 3 general election.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is expecting recording-breaking turnout with some challenges due to COVID-19.

The Chatham County Board of Registrars chairman is clearing the air on some absentee ballot misconceptions, and addressing recent comments from President Trump about the mail-in ballot process.

Chatham County Board of Registrars Chairman Colin McRae wants the voters to know he has confidence in the security and reliability of the absentee mail-in ballot process.

“From a personal standpoint, and I say this on behalf of myself and not necessarily the full Board; I was disappointed to see the level of rancor about this distrust in the process. Of course, I benefit from seeing the process for now fifteen years, and I see the safeguards that are in place. And I see the level of care that is taken in ensuring its signatures match those of the voter,” said McRae.

McRae points out there is no universal mail-in ballot system in Georgia, since you have to request an absentee application.

“This idea that everybody gets a ballot and that there’s just all these hundreds of thousands or millions of ballots floating around for anybody to fill out. That’s just not the case. It is a one-on-one, you request it, you get it from your election officials, you sign it and fill it out and send it back to us. It’s verified and then counted.”

Workers compare ballot signatures to the county’s signature database to make sure the person is a registered voter.

So far, 10,695 people have requested and received absentee ballots for the August 11 runoff, and the Registrars Office has gotten back just over 4,700. That’s higher than they normally see in primary runoffs, according to McRae.

If you’re planning on requesting an absentee ballot and sending one in, the Chairman has this advice.

“Myself, I would give it two weeks at least to get it mailed back.”

McRae says that way, if it hasn’t been counted before the election, a voter has plenty of time to request another ballot, fill it out, and drop it off at the Registrars Office.

McRae said the biggest reason ballots were rejected in the June 9th primary election is they came in too late. McRae explained ballots have to be received by the Registrars Office no later than 7pm on the day of an election. If it’s close to Election Day and you aren’t sure it will make it through the mail, it’s best to bring it to the Board of Registrars Office and drop it in the secure blue box outside.

If you cast a democratic or non-partisan ballot in the June 9th primary, you can vote in the August 11th runoff election. McRae pointed out there are no republican races in the runoff.

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