FACT CHECK: Did Georgia Send Out 7 Million Absentee Ballots While Only Having 5.6 Million Registered Voters In The 2020 Presidential Election?
A post shared on Facebook claims Georgia sent out 7 million absentee ballots while only having 5.6 million registered voters during the 2020 presidential election.
Historical voter registration statistics from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office show the state had over 7.6 million registered voters for the 2020 general election. Over 1.7 million absentee ballots were requested in the state for the November election, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
Georgia, which President Joe Biden won by about 12,000 votes, has been the subject of multiple false claims related to the 2020 election on social media. This particular Facebook post incorrectly alleges, “Georgia Mailed Out 7 Million Ballots in 2020 Election When the State Only Had 5.6 Million Registered Voters.”
The number of absentee ballots the post inaccurately claims were sent out during the November election appears to come from the number of absentee ballot request forms sent out in Georgia ahead of the June primary elections. Absentee ballot request forms, which are different from absentee ballots, were mailed out to 6.9 million active registered Georgia voters for the primaries, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and radio station WABE.
Georgia had over 7.6 million registered voters for the 2020 general election, according to Georgia Secretary of State’s office historical voter registration statistics updated in March 2021. The U.S. Elections Project reports that over 1.7 million absentee ballots were requested across Georgia for the November election. In the state’s presidential election, over 1.3 million absentee by-mail ballots were cast, election results by vote type from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office show.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office told Check Your Fact in an emailed statement that the Facebook post was “incorrect in multiple ways,” noting that counties – not the state – are charged with sending out absentee ballots and that counties “only send one to an eligible voter who requested one.”
“So, the requests could not exceed the number of registered voters,” the statement from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office explained. “And ballots that are returned to counties are also checked to make sure the voter requested it; meaning a ballot without a request would be rejected.” (RELATED: Does Georgia’s New Election Law Make It Illegal For A Grandchild To Drop Off A Grandparent’s Absentee Ballot?)
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office also confirmed the “number of absentee ballots cast in the general election was 1.3 million,” adding that “all of them were verified for the voter’s identity and eligibility, making sure they did request the ballot and that they had not already voted.”
It’s possible that the Facebook post’s inaccurate claim about absentee ballots and registered voters originated from a July 22 Gateway Pundit article that originally alleged Georgia sent out 7 million absentee ballots when the state only had 5.6 million registered voters. The article has since been updated to reflect that there were over 7 million registered voters and that 1.3 million absentee ballots were counted during the 2020 election.
“Update – originally we reported only 5.4 million voters in Georgia were registered based on a report. However, per a reader, we determined that the Secretary of State’s website shows a little more than 7 million registered voters in the state,” reads the update.