Ge­or­gia ex­tends dead­line to ac­cept runoff ab­sen­tee bal­lots

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS - By Kate Brum­back

AT­LANTA — Ge­or­gia’s sec­re­tary of state agreed Fri­day to ex­tend the dead­line for ac­cept­ing ab­sen­tee bal­lots for the up­com­ing runoff elec­tion af­ter the state Demo­cratic Party filed a law­suit say­ing some county elec­tion of­fi­cials waited too long to send out the bal­lots.

Re­sults of the Nov. 6 gen­eral elec­tion were cer­ti­fied on Nov. 17, but at least 65 of the state’s 159 coun­ties didn’t send out ab­sen­tee bal­lots for the Dec. 4 runoff un­til this week, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral law­suit filed Thurs­day. Since ab­sen­tee bal­lots gen­er­ally must be re­ceived by the time polls close on Elec­tion Day, that left some wouldbe ab­sen­tee vot­ers with less than a week to get their bal­lots back to elec­tion of­fi­cials.

In a court fil­ing agree­ing to the ex­tended dead­line sought by the Democrats, in­terim Sec­re­tary of State Robyn Crit­ten­den main­tains there was no wrong­do­ing by state or county elec­tion of­fi­cials. The pro­posed con­sent or­der sub­mit­ted to the court Fri­day says ab­sen­tee bal­lots post­marked by Dec. 4 and re­ceived by Dec. 7 will be counted.

There are two statewide races on the runoff bal­lot — sec­re­tary of state and a seat on the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion. Runoff elec­tions in Ge­or­gia are trig­gered when no can­di­date wins more than 50 per­cent of the vote.

In the sec­re­tary of state race, Brad Raf­fens­berger, a lit­tle-known Re­pub­li­can state law­maker, re­ceived about 49.1 per­cent of the nearly 3.9 mil­lion votes tal­lied, while Demo­crat John Bar­row, a mod­er­ate for­mer con­gress­man, got 48.7 per­cent. Lib­er­tar­ian Smythe Du­Val took about 2.2 per­cent.

Re­pub­li­can Chuck Ea­ton faces Demo­crat Lindy Miller in the PSC runoff.

The law­suit was filed against Crit­ten­den in her of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity as the state’s top elec­tions of­fi­cial.

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