Still time to vote in Georgia

Overseas voters have another chance to vote in Georgia runoff election; Absentee ballots are available online

Georgia voters will have a chance to vote again Dec. 2 in a runoff election for a U.S. senator and several state offices, and the state's 173,000 overseas and military voters could play a crucial role in determining who will fill those seats.

'This is a race of razor-thin margins that may be determined by the turnout of overseas and military voters,' said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the Overseas Vote Foundation. 'Voters must act now to get their ballots back in time.'

A number of online resources are available to help voters send their ballots to election officials on time, but that time is short. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 2 and received by the election office by Dec. 5.

The runoff election pits incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss against Democratic challenger Jim Martin, neither of whom received the required 51 percent of the vote in the three-way general election. The ballot also includes a Public Service Commission seat to be decided in District 4-Northern, between Republican Lauren McDonald and Democrat Jim Powell, in addition to a nonpartisan appeals court judgeship between Sara Doyle and Mike Sheffield.

Eligible absentee voters who requested an absentee ballot for the general election using the Federal Post Card Application should automatically receive a Georgia write-in absentee ballot for the runoff election without filing an additional application. If the ballot is not received, an online version can be downloaded from the state election office's Web site. Voters also can contact their county registrar and ask for a faxed write-in ballot.

The federal write-in absentee ballot also can be used if the voter has not received a state absentee ballot. This allows voting for federal offices, such as the U.S. Senate, and might also be used for some statewide elections. These ballots are available online from the Federal Voting Assistance Program and from the Overseas Vote Foundation.

These ballots can be marked online but must be printed and mailed to the appropriate office. There is no online voting. The Overseas Vote Foundation has developed a suite of tools with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Make Voting Work Program to help voters with state-specific information for voting, including addresses for mailing ballots.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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