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State Democratic Party says thousands in DeKalb didn’t receive absentee ballots, county disagrees

Avondale Estates campaign coverage Decatur Metro ATL Tucker

State Democratic Party says thousands in DeKalb didn’t receive absentee ballots, county disagrees

Photo by Dena Mellick
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Photo by Dena Mellick

The state Democratic Party says that 4,700 voters in DeKalb County requested absentee ballots but didn’t receive them.

The county says it only received 48 of these requests. The reason for the discrepancy is not clear.

On Common Ground News first broke the story, citing figures provided by Rebecca DeHart, executive director for the state Democratic Party. She confirmed the details of the story with Decaturish.

She said the ballots were not provided by the county Board of Registration and Elections and that the county tasked six employees to find voters who didn’t get an absentee ballot.

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“People have been calling the hotline saying they never received the absentee ballots. We’re not sure what happened,” DeHart told On Common Ground. “We’re being proactive and getting the word out to tell them to early vote. We’re also calling people who are on the list as backup to what DeKalb elections officials are doing.”

The county says that it looked into the matter after it received the information from the state Democratic Party.

“DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections is in receipt of a list, provided by the Democratic Party of Georgia, of approximately 4,700 registered voters that the Party claims requested absentee ballot forms via a mailer sent out by the Party,” DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections Chairman Sam Tillman said. “After reviewing the list of names, there is evidence that the county received 48 of those voter absentee ballot request forms. All 48 of those forms have been processed. At this time, there is no evidence that there are any missing or lost absentee ballot request forms. The Elections Department receives request forms daily and processes them within three days of receipt. At this time there are approximately 250 forms pending processing.”

DeHart called the county’s response “confusing.”

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“We are concerned for the at least 4,700 people whose requests were never answered and whom DeKalb hired staff to contact and assist,” she said. “And again—it’s very important for DeKalb Voters who have requested an absentee ballot, and haven’t yet received one, to check in and see if it has been processed by the county.”

Party spokesperson Seth Bringman echoed that sentiment.

“The Democratic Party of Georgia learned from voters calling our voter protection hotline that 4,700 voters in DeKalb County who requested mail-in ballot applications did not receive ballots from the county board of elections,” Bringman said. “We have USPS scans that show 4,700 ballot applications were delivered, but the county board has only been able to find 48 of them. For the thousands of voters impacted, we are encouraging them to vote early in person, or call our voter protection hotline at 1-888-730-5816.”

Early voting began Oct. 15. Here’s a list of locations and times where you can cast your ballot ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.

Voter Registration & Elections Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300 Decatur, Ga. 30032: 

  • Monday – Friday, Oct. 15 – Nov. 2, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, noon – 4 p.m.

South DeKalb – The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall, 2801 Candler Road, Decatur, Ga. 30034: 

  • Monday – Friday, Oct. 15 – Nov. 2, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, noon – 4 p.m

North DeKalb – Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, Ga. 30338

  • Monday – Friday, Oct. 15 – Nov. 2, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, noon – 4 p.m

Tucker – Reid H. Cofer Library 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, Ga. 30084

  • Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, noon – 4 p.m
  • Monday – Friday, Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Stonecrest – Stonecrest Library 3123 Klondike Road Lithonia, GA 30038

  • Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, noon – 4 p.m
  • Monday – Friday, Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The following locations will each be open the week of Oct. 29 only. Each will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily until Nov. 2:

  • Atlanta – Coan Recreation Center 1530 Woodbine Ave., SE, Atlanta, Ga. 30317  UPDATE: The county announced that due to a scheduling conflict, this location has been changed to Bessie Branham Recreation Center2051 Delano Drive, NE Atlanta, GA 30317
  • Brookhaven – Briarwood Recreation Center 2235 Briarwood Way, NE, Brookhaven, Ga. 30319
  • Chamblee – North DeKalb Senior Center 3393 Malone Drive, Chamblee, Ga. 30341
  • Decatur – First Christian Church of Decatur 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, Ga. 30030
  • East DeKalb – Berean Christian Church Community Center 2440 Young Road, Stone Mountain, Ga. 30088

Additionally, absentee ballots (applications can be found here) can be sent in until Nov. 2.

People who wish to vote will need to bring one of the following forms of identification, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office:

– Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

– A Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired

– Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state

– Valid U.S. passport ID

– Valid U.S. military photo ID

– Valid tribal photo ID

How can you check to see if you’re registered?

You can look up your status by visiting the Georgia Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page.” To visit the My Voter Page, click here. You can check your status by providing basic information like your last name, birthday and the county you live in. You can also see a sample ballot and your polling place.

Please vote in the Nov. 6 elections.

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