Ballots for those planning to vote by mail in the May 22 primary elections will be sent out starting Friday, and applications are being accepted now.
To apply, voters can download the application from the Cobb Elections website and return it by mail, fax or email. Georgia voters do not need to specify a reason to vote by mail.
The ballot will include three U.S. Representative seats; statewide offices including governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state; all members of the state Legislature; two Cobb County Commission seats and three Cobb Board of Education seats. There will also be special elections for City Council members in Kennesaw and Smyrna.
Because this is a primary election, voters will need to specify on the application whether they would like to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. Voters cannot select candidates from different parties in the primary, but they can in the Nov. 6 general election.
Non-partisan ballots are also available. Those contain only non-partisan races, such as judges.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in his or her primary, a run-off election will be scheduled for July 24, except for in Kennesaw, where the candidate with the most votes wins, even if they get less than 50 percent, although there are only two candidates in that council race.
A voter who votes for one party in the primary cannot vote in the other party’s run-off, even if there is no run-off for the voter’s preferred party. Someone who does not vote in the primary can register to vote in either party’s run-off.
Those who are over 65 or disabled can check a box on the application to request ballots for all elections in this election cycle, otherwise voters will have to apply again to vote by mail in the general election.
The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is the Friday before the election, May 18, but Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler suggests applying as early as possible.
“(Applying on May 18) is cutting it really close because we have to mail it out and they have to mail it back,” she said. “So we recommend they get their application in as soon as they believe that’s the way they want to vote.”
Eveler said voters can apply to vote by mail, then change their mind and vote in person, but if they do that, they must bring their unused ballot in with them to the polling place. That’s to prevent people from voting twice.
In-person early voting is scheduled to begin April 30 at the main election office at 736 Whitlock Ave in Marietta. It will run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
From May 14 through May 18, early voting will also be available at the East Cobb Government Service Center at 4400 Lower Roswell Rd., NorthStar Church at 3413 Blue Springs Rd. NW in Kennesaw, the South Cobb Community Center at 620 Lions Club Dr. in Mableton and the Boots Ward Recreation Center Office at 4845 Dallas Highway in Powder Springs. Hours vary by location.
Any eligible voter can vote early at any open location. For more information, schedules and to register to vote by mail, visit www.cobbelections.org.