Earlier this week, I saw on TV long lines of citizens in metro counties waiting to vote on the first “Early Voting” day. With the number of “Early Voting” days reduced in Georgia, lines will only get longer.
Then I saw a picture of Michele Obama with a lovely smile. She was holding a large envelope that said “Absentee Ballot.” Our First lady had just voted.
Also, my congressman, Tom Price has sent me a reminder to vote but NOT at the polls.
He sent a post card that said, “Submit Absentee Ballots by November 6th!” Yes, he used an exclamation point for emphasis because this is important. The rule changes on photo IDs, and the reduction in “Early Voting” days have made what was formerly known as “Absentee Balloting” an important way to exercise your constitutional right to vote.
First a little history, absentee balloting used to be known as a difficult and restrictive way to vote. You needed a reason to use the process, like being sick, or out of town, and then you had to do backflips to get the paperwork filled out. NO MORE. Now, in Georgia, you can request a ballot in 60 seconds, wait about 3-7 days, get your ballot in your mailbox, fill it out, and send it back to the Cobb Election commission.
Since a lot of people know what absentee balloting used to be, that is difficult and restrictive, the election marketing department (or something like it) decided to give the process a new name, “Voting By Mail,” to make it more attractive. Go to CobbElections.org and on the home page, at the bottom left, there are the words “Vote By Mail” which takes you to a page that says “Absentee Voting By Mail,” the next line says, “vote absentee by mail, without giving any reason.” Now, Vote by Mail and Absentee Voting mean exactly the same thing, like house and casa, different words but the same meaning.
How easy is it to request a ballot? Go to http://elections.cobbcountyga.gov/VoteByMailApp.php and print out the form. It is a 2 minute process or we can cut it down to 1 minute with this cheat sheet: Write with a pen
- Your driver’s license No.
- Date Of Birth
- Phone # (optional but if you mess up something, they can get back with you quickly)
- Name As Registered
- Current Address
- Check box for General (Presidential) Election
- Then Fax, or Scan & E-Mail, or Mail to the addresses listed at the bottom of the page.
No cross outs or white outs, just start over.
Got a child in college or out of town who is registered to vote in Cobb County? Give them a call and tell them to go to cobbelections.org and walk them thru the process. You miss them and were going to call anyway.
Know someone who is registered to vote but doesn’t have a photo ID, like your mom, or grandmother, or some other nice person? No problem. Instead of filling in a Driver’s License No on the top right part of the form, they can write the last 4 digits of their Social Security No (optional) on the top left part of the form.
If you live outside of Cobb, you can use the same generic form that is available on the Georgia Secretary of State website to find your county's elections website for “Vote By Mail/Absentee Ballot” forms. I like the Cobb form. It is easier to use and already has the Fax, Scan, and E-Mail addresses already on the form.
Live in Cobb? Got a question? Call Cobb Elections at (770) 528-2581.
Voting is your Constitutional right. It should be easy and Tea Party Tom would not recommend anything where the potential of voter fraud exists. I am sure that Michelle Obama would like to get a sticker that said, “I Voted.” But voting is more important than a sticker or a ritual that takes you to a polling place.
If you really, really, really want a souvenir of this election, one that is way better than the “I Voted” sticker, just make a copy of your Vote by Mail ballot, put it in your safety deposit box, sock drawer, frame it, whatever you want.
And make some copies for your friends at church, school, work, neighbors, and civic groups. Friends don’t let friends stand in line to vote.
Put two stamps on the Absentee Ballot Envelope.