Military mail-in voters registered to vote in Georgia should be aware of deadlines for voting in the December 6 runoff for the US Senate seat between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, who is seeking his first full term, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker awareness .
If you haven’t sent out your absentee ballot yet, you still have time. To vote in the Georgia runoff, you must already be registered. You can check your registration status on Georgia’s My Voter Page. If you are registered to vote and have requested a postal vote for the November 2022 general election, you should automatically receive a postal vote for the December 6th runoff.
However, you can also apply for a postal vote for the run-off election, even if you have not applied for this beforehand.
- You must request your absentee ballot by November 28th. You can do this electronically using the Federal Post Card Application, which you can download from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. You can receive the ballot electronically, so be sure to include your email address. You can also use the My Voters page in Georgia to find the email address of your district electoral office and send the ballot request. Given the limited time, you should request electronic delivery of the ballot.
- New this year: Georgia military and foreign mail-in voters may have already cast their ballots in the runoff. With the Georgia runoff on December 6 coming just a month after the general election, officials have sent out a “ranked” runoff along with the general election absentee ballot to ensure these voters get a runoff as soon as possible, if this is required. If voters choose to do so, they could cast their ballot for a runoff, rank their preferred candidate choices, and mail the ballot in a separate envelope.
- The runoff has now been updated so that any military or foreign voter who has not submitted the ranked ballot can still submit that ballot or request the new runoff ballot, which looks like a regular ballot. If you have already submitted the ranked ballot, that will count. Both are valid.
Military voters and foreign citizens have their voting rights protected by the Uniformed and Foreign Citizens Postal Voting Act and are commonly known as UOCAVA voters. This applies to US citizens living abroad, as well as military members and their families anywhere in the United States or around the world who are stationed or deployed outside of their home constituency.
In Georgia, UOCAVA voters are the only mail-in voters allowed to receive an electronic ballot from their polling officials. Mailed ballots, however, must be downloaded and mailed to the local Georgia elections official where they are registered.
Georgia has special rules for UOCAVA voters that allow ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by election day, December 6, and received by 5 p.m. on the third day after the election, December 9.
Use priority mail
Military members and their eligible dependents overseas can continue to use the free 11-DoD priority mail label that was available during the general election cycle, said Air Force Lt. Col. Amy Oliver, a spokeswoman for the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
With this label, which has been available since the beginning of September, you will receive your election helper for your postal vote free of charge by express mail. Due to the shorter time window, you need to avail this free overseas priority mail.
You may request a Prepaid Mail Label 11-DoD to be affixed to your mail ballot at overseas Military Post Office locations – APO and FPO addresses. Retain part of the tracking label to track your postal vote through the US Postal Service.
UOCAVA voters can also send their ballots by diplomatic mail through their US embassy.
UOCAVA voters have another option. If you have not yet received your mail-in ballot for the runoff, download the Federal Write-In mail-in ballot from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, fill it out, and mail it to your local Georgia elections official.
If you receive the mail-in ballot from your election official after mailing the FWAB, officials advise voting on that ballot and mailing it in as well. Your vote will not be double counted and all ballots will be authenticated.
Karen has reported on military families, quality of life and consumer issues for the Military Times for more than 30 years and is a co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families. She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Florida and Athens, Georgia.