A key Georgia county has extended the deadline for over 1,036 absentee ballots to be received through November 14, nearly a week after Election Day.
Cobb County election officials failed to send out the ballots after they say procedural errors were made on at least two days in October, when absentee ballots were requested but not created and mailed.
Cobb County, which incorporates a large part of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, is a heavily populated area in Northwest Georgia. The city’s outer northern suburbs have historically reported Republicans, but many of these areas like parts of Cobb have moved towards Democrats in recent years.
The November 14 deadline for this batch of over 1,000 ballots is the same day that Georgia’s military and overseas ballots are due, but absentee ballots still need to be cast and postmarked by Election Day. Any voters who still haven’t received their absentee ballots have the option to print out the federal write in absentee ballot used for overseas voters, according to Cobb County election attorney Daniel White.
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“The ballots appeared to be issued because they were marked in the system as issued, but the final step of actually running it through the machine did not,” Janine Eveler, Cobb County elections director, told reporters on Monday.
“So the ballots were never packed up and sent. So it was completely human error,” Eveler said, adding that the election worker responsible is “sick about it.”
A state judge approved the deadline change on Monday.
Cobb County Election officials say that they determined that of the 1,036 absentee ballot snafus, there are currently 276 voters who may have been affected who have not already been sent an overnight return envelope with their absentee ballot or have not already cast their ballot during the early voting period. CNN has previously reported that over 2.5 million ballots have been cast in Georgia during early voting.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and its national office and the Southern Poverty Law Center announced Sunday that they had filed a lawsuit to give Cobb County absentee voters more time to receive and send back the mistake was discovered by Cobb election officials.
Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says that they plan to open an investigation into this Cobb County absentee ballot incident with the State Election Board.