Court Orders Special Provisions for Overseas Georgia Voters
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 16, 2004 A delay in the mailing of absentee ballots to Georgia citizens overseas for the state's July 20 primary election prompted a U.S. District Court to order Georgia to accept and count ballots applied for and cast by certain dates.
Overseas Georgia voters whose application for an absentee ballot was received on or before June 21, may cast votes for all federal offices as long as they were cast by 7 p.m. EDT July 20 and received by 5 p.m. EDT July 23.
The court also ordered Georgia to pay for the overnight mailing of overseas absentee ballots.
Georgia overseas voters should return their absentee ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible, using the accounts that the state has arranged with both United Parcel Service and Federal Express free of charge. UPS or FedEx account numbers are available by calling the Federal Voting Assistance Program toll-free at (800) 438-VOTE (8683), (703) 588-1584, DSN 425- 1343 or toll-free from 64 countries listed at a special Web site.
The court also ordered Georgia to accept faxed delivery of overseas ballots. It requires that the voter be informed of and agree to waive the right to a secret ballot. Faxed ballots must be received by county elections officials by 7 p.m. EDT July 20. Voters returning a ballot by fax should refer to Appendix C of the 2004-2005 Voting Assistance Guide on the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site, where they also will find complete instructions. Voters must provide a return transmission fax number, including international prefixes, on all documents sent by fax. Voters can fax ballots to (703) 588-0108 or DSN 425-0108, or to one of the 50 overseas fax numbers listed at a special Web site.
Overseas Georgia voters who have not received their state absentee ballot may also use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, Standard Form 186, to vote for candidates for frederal office for the primary election. These ballots must be cast by 7 p.m. EDT July 20 and received by 5 p.m. EDT July 23. The ballots are available from their voting assistance officer or at their U.S. Embassy or consulate. Georgia has also made the FWAB available online in PDF format on the state's Web site. Voters must submit both the ballot and the voter declaration/affirmation.
Voters who receive their official Georgia absentee ballot after submitting a FWAB should vote and return it prior to the July 20 deadline. If it is received by July 23, the official absentee ballot will supersede the FWAB. Voters also may scan the completed FWAB and voter Declaration/affirmation, and e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officials said voting assistance officers should contact Georgia voters in their unit to inform them of the court orders and help to them return their absentee ballot.
Questions may also be referred to the Federal Voting Assistance Program by e- mail at email@example.com.