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Absentee Ballots Open Door for Double Voting in Georgia Primary

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Georgia’s top elections official said Tuesday that his office has identified about 1,000 cases of double voting in the June primary election — a felony he’s determined to see prosecuted.

Voters across 100 Georgia counties submitted absentee ballots but also voted in person, and election officials didn’t catch them in time to keep the second votes from being tallied, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.

“No one gets to vote twice. Everyone gets one vote,” Raffensperger said.

It was not immediately clear whether the outcome of any races may have been affected.

Raffensperger said his office’s investigators will hand the findings over to the state attorney general and local district attorneys for possible prosecution.

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Double voting is a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, Raffensperger said.

“A double voter knows exactly what they are doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said.

He said repeatedly during a news conference that those 1,000 voters intentionally cast two ballots, knowing they had submitted an absentee ballot but still showing up to vote in person.

About 150,000 of the Georgia voters who requested absentee ballots for the June primary later showed up to vote in person.

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One thousand of them ended up casting a second ballot, Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said his office is working with county election officials to ensure that no double voting happens in the November general election.

If voters request an absentee ballot but then show up to vote in person on Election Day, the election system flags them as having requested an absentee ballot. The poll worker is then supposed to call the county election office to see if the absentee ballot has been received for that voter.

If the county election office says an absentee ballot has been received, the person should not be allowed to vote in person.

If there’s no record of an absentee ballot having been received, the voter is allowed to cast a ballot in person and the county election office is supposed to cancel the absentee ballot request so that the absentee ballot won’t be counted if it comes in.

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If the poll worker fails to contact the county election office, or if the county election office fails to cancel the absentee ballot request, double voting is possible.

Raffensperger’s office on Friday appealed a federal judge’s order that extended the absentee ballot deadline in Georgia for the November election.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross ordered the state to count any absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received by 7 p.m. three days later, instead of only counting ballots received by the close of polls.

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