Election officials in Catoosa and Walker counties worked overtime this week to contact voters who failed to sign mail-in applications for absentee voter ballots for the upcoming Dec. 2 U.S. Senate runoff.
“If they are not signed, we have no way of verifying them” with signatures on record, said John Campbell, Catoosa County election registration technology director.
The Catoosa County election office has received about 1,000 postcard applications and about 500 were not signed, he said.
In Walker County, director of elections and registration Barbara Berry said about 900 applications have been received seeking absentee ballots. Of those, about 500 were unsigned, Ms. Berry said.
“We are issuing absentee ballots for the ones that were filled out correctly, and we are beginning to send out new applications for those who did not,” Ms. Berry said.
“We don’t want people to say we ignored their postcards, but we don’t feel like there will be enough time for us to get this information out to them and they get the applications back to us to get absentee ballots,” she said.
Voters who did not sign the applications still may vote, either during advance voting or on runoff election day on Dec. 2.
Early voting ended Friday. Advance voting runs Monday through Wednesday.
Election officials said the increase in absentee ballot applications is a result of a “get out the vote” campaign mounted by the National Republican Committee and the North Georgia Republican Party for incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. In the Nov. 4 elections, the senator failed to garner the 50 percent plus 1 vote total to defeat challenger Democrat Jim Martin.
Catoosa County resident Kailor Gordy, a Republican Party volunteer, said he received separate invitations from the national and state Republican parties.
“The idea was to get the vote out,” Mr. Gordy said. “But if people aren’t sure whether they signed their cards, I wouldn’t wait. I’d do one of three things: Go and vote at the Catoosa County annex during early voting, call the commission or show up to vote on election day.”
Mr. Campbell urged absentee voters not to wait for their ballots in the mail.
“If you think you did not sign your card or if you are not sure, you can call down here and ask,” he said. “If we cannot help you that way, you can come on and early vote, which ends Nov. 26. Or you can come in on election day.”