Dear Decaturish – I still do not know what became of my absentee ballot

Posted by Decaturish.com November 7, 2018

File Photo provided by Dena Mellick

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Dear Decaturish,

I’m registered to vote in Dekalb County, but I’m currently living in Lucknow, India. I am on a Fulbright scholarship conducting ethnographic research for my doctorate.

I applied for an absentee ballot for the Nov. 6 election. I followed the instructions on the Secretary of State’s website regarding who to email my application to. When I first sent my application – to Maxine Daniels – on October 10, I got an auto-reply saying that she was about to retire. The reply included two other people’s email addresses to direct messages to instead of Ms Daniels. I re-sent my application to both addresses and never heard back. On October 22 I found, on Dekalb County’s website, a fourth email address to send my application to. That finally worked; I got a reply saying that my application had been printed and sent to the “absentee ballot department” to be processed.

On October 29, I still hadn’t received my absentee ballot. So I called the Democratic Party’ voter protection hotline. They couldn’t find any record of my absentee ballot application. They brought Dekalb County voter registration in on a three way call. After half an hour on the phone, Dekalb emailed me my application confirmation, and on October 30th I woke up to articles social media about how Dekalb county denied losing track of almost 5,000 absentee ballot applications.

I filled out my ballot and spent $50 on DHL express to get my ballot to the county office in time to be counted. I stayed at the DHL express store and watched to make sure they did not block with their shipping label the place where I had dutifully written “official absentee ballot” on the outside of the envelope, per Dekalb County instructions. On Friday, November 2, at 5:05pm, a T. Martinez at the county office signed for the delivery of my absentee ballot. As of the time I’m writing this email, the Secretary of State’s website still does not list my absentee ballot as “received,” let alone accepted or counted.

I called the voter protection hotline again. I’m not going to bother with the Secretary of State; this is exactly what Kemp wanted, so what’s the point of asking help from that office?

Thank you,

Isaac Foster Mirza

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