The Democratic Party Of Georgia said Thursday that around 4,700 vote-by-mail applications they submitted weeks ago are currently unaccounted for in a key Democratic-leaning county, The New York Times first reported.
DeKalb County elections officials “acknowledged the missing applications in a phone conversation this week with Democratic voter protection officials” and promised to alert affected voters, the Times wrote, citing officials familiar with the call.
The chairman of the DeKalb County elections board, Sam Tillman, told the Times: “There is no evidence that there are any missing or lost absentee ballot request forms.”
But, the Times reported, Tillman could only confirm receiving 48 of the 4,700 applications. The Times said affected voters would have to re-request a ballot, and that the state’s deadline to issue absentee ballots to voters is Nov. 2.
Tillman told The Hill that the elections board “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.” He added: “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.”
“If you requested a mail-in ballot but did not receive your ballot, please vote early, in person,” a tweet from the Georgia Democratic Party read Thursday. “4,700 voters may never receive ballots despite requesting.”
UPDATE: Of the 4,700 ballot requests, the county board has only been able to find 48 of them. While this is unfortunate, our priority is that every eligible vote is cast and counted. If you have not received your ballot please call the voter protection hotline at 1-888-730-5816.
— Georgia Democrat (@GeorgiaDemocrat) October 25, 2018
DeKalb County went for Hillary Clinton 82-17 percent over Donald Trump in 2016, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams, has accused her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, of purging, suppressing and scaring potential voters. Kemp, as secretary of state, is both a candidate in the election and the official running it. Kemp’s enforcement of the so-called “exact match” rule has resulted in tens of thousands of Georgians’ voter registrations being put on hold.
On Thursday, a federal judge issued new rules for absentee ballots with allegedly mismatched signatures, relative to voters’ on-record signatures. Instead of rejecting the absentee ballots altogether in the case of mismatches, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May ordered Thursday, Georgia is to treat such ballots as provisional and notify voters of the opportunity to correct the issue. The state of Georgia said shortly after the ruling that it would appeal.