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Precinct cards confuse voters

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Precinct cards confuse voters

Precinct cards mailed to voters include a change of address form. The precinct cards are confusing voters. Photo provided to Decaturish

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — Dekalb County residents are scratching their heads at the mailbox, and the confusion stems from voter precinct cards. The postcard directs voters to their polling place, but it could be outdated by the time it arrives. 

A legally required notification, the trifold postcard is being mailed to 7 million voters across Georgia. Although the primary election was held in May, voters are still actively receiving voter precinct cards, and a few polling places are changing.

For example, Coan Recreation Center has held elections for years. It was unavailable for the June runoff because of summer camps. So, voters cast a ballot at the rec center for the May primary, voted at a nearby church for the June runoff, and are expected back at the rec center for the November election. 

Each polling change is required to be communicated to voters at least 60 days before an election. 

Each county elections office orders voter precinct cards for distribution through the Secretary of State’s office. DeKalb Elections ordered the cards on time, Elections Communications Director Erik Burton said, and he was not sure what created the backlog. 

One side of the postcard states the voter’s precinct and polling place address. Voters can look up their precinct at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov for current information. 

One side of the postcard displays the voter’s districts for the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, state house, judicial, county commission, county school board and more, depending on whether the recipient lives in a city or in unincorporated DeKalb County. 

The remaining side is a detachable change of address form that can be mailed back to DeKalb Elections.

Voter registration deadline is 30 days before an election. If a voter moves and does not register within 30 days of an election, they are barred from voting in the election and the runoff. If a voter submits with the U.S. Postal Service a request to forward their mail and fails to update voter registration, the person can be placed on the county’s inactive voter list. 

Why were some counties redistricted?

The U.S. Census triggers a redrawing of precinct maps, or redistricting process, that takes months to complete. After the SOS creates the maps, the Georgia legislature votes. Then counties work with the SOS to distribute voter precinct postcards. 

Precinct cards are a legal notification of changes to districts and polling locations. They’re also mailed upon registering to vote. This year in DeKalb, 570,000 precinct cards were mailed. 

DeKalb’s redistricting changes affected voters in 2022. 

“I ended up getting my voter card after the primary which confirmed my precinct, and luckily, it wasn’t changed. Unfortunately, our postal office is a little challenged and relying on just the postal service can be difficult, so please make every effort to let people know of these changes,” said Haqiqa Bolling, a Decatur resident, at the Aug. 11 DeKalb Elections meeting.

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