Mayor issues orders to expand voting access as state launches new absentee ballot website

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued executive and administrative Orders to expand access to local polls and make it easier for Atlanta residents to vote as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The administrative order directs the city’s Chief Operating Officer to work with the Fulton and DeKalb Boards of Registration and Elections to identify how the city may assist with the possible use of city facilities and resources to help ensure all eligible voters are able to do so on Nov. 3.

The order also directs the city’s Chief of Staff to engage with the Atlanta Postmaster to find out about any operational changes made by the United States Postal Service which could affect of inhibit mail delivery services for Atlanta residents between now and the election.

The city will also update its Atlanta 311 mobile application to provide the public with all voting information necessary to ensure every eligible voter is registered and ready to vote.

The executive order signed by Bottoms increases the number of hours city employees can take off to vote on Nov. 3 from two to four.

“Regardless of party affiliation, all Atlanta residents deserve to not only cast their vote, but do so in a safe, open and accessible manner,” Bottoms said in a press release. “The dysfunction we saw across the state during the Primary was unacceptable. In 2020, we should be making it easier for people to exercise their Constitutional right to vote—because access to the polls is access to our democracy.”

The mayor’s orders coincide with the state launching a new website, ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov, where voters can request  an absentee ballot for the November election. The site instantly transmits absentee ballot requests to county election offices then generates a confirmation email that the request has been received.

State officials said those who request an absentee ballot via the site will receive them in late September.

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