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Many outstanding absentee ballots in Troup County

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Friday that more than 1 million Georgians requested absentee ballots for the upcoming primary election in June.

In Troup County, Elections Manager Andy Harper said 8,151 residents had requested absentee ballots. However, only three of those more than 8,000 residents have turned in their ballots.

The local election is scheduled for June 9. The deadline to register to vote for the upcoming combined election is for May 11, and early voting is expected to begin on May 18.

Raffensperger has been vocal recently about shifting from in-person voting to absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal was to keep voters safe and take the pressure off of our in-person voting locations,” Raffensperger in a news release. “We have more than achieved that goal.”

He recently delayed the election to June 9 due to COVID-19 and mailed absentee-ballot applications to 6.9 million active registered voters.

In Troup County, Harper said there were 42,039 active voters as of Friday morning. He also said there are 2,088 inactive voters who may still vote if they show up at the polls on election day or request an absentee ballot.

The number of active registered voters in Troup County is up considerably from the most recent presidential election in 2016. According to Harper, there were 30,139 active voters in March 2016 during the presidential preference primary. And in May 2016, there were 31,612 for the primary election.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started to worsen in Georgia, Harper said 1,215 voted early in the presidential preference primary in Georgia, which was set to take place on March 24. Harper said for those who voted early in the presidential primary, they will only receive a ballot with the candidates that would have been held in May. For voters that didn’t vote early, they will receive a ballot with the presidential primary and the additional federal, state and local races.

Of those 1,215 voters before COVID-19, 688 were Democratic voters and 527 were Republican. The Troup County School Board of Education races are run non-partisan so every voter will have the opportunity to vote in the district where they live.

At the state level, 700,000 ballots have already been sent, according to Raffensperger in a news release.

In 2016, Georgia’s last statewide general primary in a presidential election year, just 37,231 absentee ballots were cast. Raffensperger said the number of absentee ballot requests is already more than 30 times the 2016 number and is growing.