The newly-appointed Secretary of State in Georgia on Monday instructed local election officials that they may count absentee ballots, even if they lack a voter’s date of birth, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
There are reportedly voters who thought that section of the form was to sign the date they filled out their ballot, not their year of birth.
New Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden is telling county officials they may count such ballots as long as the voter’s identity can is verified.
In Gwinnett County, officials rejected 1,587 mailed absentee ballots.
“What is required is the signature of the voter and any additional information needed for the county election official to verify the identity of the voter,” Crittenden wrote. “Therefore, an election official does not violate [state law] when they accept an absentee ballot despite the omission of a day and month of birth … if the election official can verify the identity of the voter.”
A Democrat on the State Election Board blasted the decision.
“It makes it sound permissive, that counties can reject an absentee ballot if they want to,” David Worley said. “It’s a cheap, underhanded trick to allow some counties to reject ballots that federal law requires that they count.”
“Frankly, I think it’s despicable,” he added.
Georgia counties have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to certify their results.