Dec 2, 2022 - News

Judge extends time for Cobb voters to return absentee ballots

Illustration of a campaign button with a gavel on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A Cobb County Superior Court judge has ordered elections officials to allow absentee ballots for Tuesday's runoff election to be submitted through Dec. 9.

  • Ballots will have to be postmarked by Election Day — 7 p.m. Dec. 6 — for them to be valid, county spokesman Ross Cavitt told Axios.
  • The extension, which is the same deadline for military and overseas voters, applies to anyone who requested a ballot on or before Nov. 26 but has not received it.
  • Affected voters can vote using a federal write-in absentee ballot if they don't receive their official ballot from the county by Tuesday.

Catch up quick: Two residents filed a lawsuit late Thursday asking for the extension after Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said there were delays in sending out about 3,400 ballots.

What they're saying: Eveler, whose comments were included in a video uploaded to the county's YouTube page, said that since government offices were closed for Thanksgiving on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, staff members didn't begin packing those ballots for shipment until Nov. 26.

  • They were eventually mailed Monday.

Flashback: Cobb County was hit with a similar lawsuit last month after elections officials discovered last week that staff did not mail out absentee ballots to 1,036 people.

  • A consent order signed by Judge Hill gave the county more time to send ballots to affected voters, who were also given additional days to return them.

Context: Eveler said she and other elections directors across the state have said a four-week turnaround between a general election and runoff, a new requirement stemming from S.B. 202, "is an almost impossible task."

  • "It takes a long time to get the ballots out, to create the ballots, to print the ballots… and it doesn’t leave enough time for voters to return their ballots through U.S. postal mail," she said. "It's just a completely unrealistic time frame."

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