Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (Photo: Resurgens)

Absentee ballots for persons living overseas at the time of an election could be sent in by fax or email if a new proposal is approved by Georgia lawmakers.

Senate Bill 30 was filed last week by Senators Kay Kirkpatrick, Bruce Thompson, Randy Robertson, Mike Dugan, Ed Harbison, and Jesse Stone – all Republicans with the exception of Harbison.

The two-page legislation, if passed, would require the state Election Board to prescribe rules and regulations by January 1, 2020.

Specifically, the Board would be required to create rules to allow absentee ballots to be accepted electronically by email and fax, and:

  • Create protections of the privacy, anonymity, and integrity of the ballots cast,
  • Create rules to prohibit the casting of multiple ballots by the same elector in a primary,
    election, or runoff,
  • Create rules for the prevention of any tampering, abuse, fraudulent use, or illegal manipulation of such electronic return of voted ballots; and
  • Create a mechanism to show the elector if the electronic transmission of the voted ballot by fax or email was successful.

The language is specific to overseas absentee ballots, not those mailed locally or elsewhere within the United States.

Current law requires absentee ballots from overseas to be returned by USPS, often slowing down return time.

Regular mail would still be an option, if the voter so chooses, and electronic ballots would be counted the same way paper ballots are. The bill makes no mention of changes to the how ballots are distributed, meaning absentee ballots would still be delivered to voters by mail.

You can contact these Senators by emailing:

kay.kirkpatrick@senate.ga.gov
ed.harbison@senate.ga.gov
bruce.thompson@senate.ga.gov
randy.robertson@senate.ga.gov
mike.dugan@senate.ga.gov
jesse.stone@senate.ga.gov

You can read the text of the legislation here.

SB 30_2019
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