A photo obtained by Atlanta’s FOX 5 showed some of the ballots still inside a post office Aug. 12 – the day after the runoffs – meaning the undelivered ballots were no longer usable by voters if they eventually received them.
Because the ballots went undelivered on time, some voters complained to voting officials and to the station that they ended up not participating in the runoff elections.
“I feel upset that I didn’t get the chance to vote in, like, the way that was supposed to be legally available and easy,” Georgia resident Matthew Britton told FOX 5.
“I thought I did everything right, as far as I know, and yeah, I’m pretty upset about that.”
The news from Georgia came amid a continuing national debate on whether absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots, are reliable enough to be used for November’s presidential election.
President Trump warned last month of a potential mail-in ballot “disaster,” claiming that security concerns regarding the ballots meant the nation could have “a rigged election waiting to happen.”
Trump said that with millions of mail-in ballots distributed, it could become impossible to know if the returned ballots were filled out by the intended recipient.
“You can't send out 16 million mail-in ballots … who knows who's getting them?" the president told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “The mailmen are going to get them, people are going to just grab batches of them and you talk about China and Russia, they'll be grabbing plenty of them. It's a disaster. It's a rigged election waiting to happen.”
A week after the president’s comments, the Trump 2020 Campaign sued New Jersey, claiming Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order for sending mail-in ballots to all voters was illegal and would open a path for voter fraud.
Murphy, who had argued that mail-in ballots were needed to help protect residents from the coronavirus by allowing them to avoid crowded polling stations, responded to the Trump campaign’s lawsuit the following day, accusing the Trump campaign of “weaponizing” the U.S. Postal Service to discourage people from voting.
Murphy and other Democrats have claimed mail-in ballots are safe to use, citing a litany of studies that show mail-voting fraud is rare in the U.S. and that some states have successfully run elections with universal mail-in voting in the past.
In Georgia, one postal-workers union official told FOX 5 she was shocked by the number of undelivered ballots in that state.
“That’s too many,” Sabir Brown, president of American Postal Workers Local 32, said when told that nearly 3,000 voters had complained about undelivered absentee ballots.
She suggested that some workers disgruntled by recent changes ordered by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy may have been to blame.
“Because the machines are missing,” Brown said, referring to mail-sorting machines recently removed from some Postal Service locations.
One Georgia voter, Lynda Brown, told the station about her experience in not receiving the ballot she was expecting.
“I never did get it,” she said. “I never did get it.”
FOX 5 told Lynda Brown her name was seen on one of the unmailed ballots that appeared in the photo the station received from a Postal Service whistleblower.
“Very frustrating,” Brown said of the situation. ”Because you know, our voice, everybody has a voice and everybody’s voice should be heard. You know, that was my voice that was missed.”