Updated on Oct. 29:
“As a follow up from the reports earlier this week on the USPS Jeep fire in Baker County. The review has let us know that there were NO ballots on the truck,” Gabriel Sterling said in a statement on Twitter.
A mail truck that could have been carrying absentee ballots went up in flames in Georgia on Oct. 24, destroying the vehicle and its contents, according to authorities.
The Baker County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that the delivery driver was unharmed after the vehicle caught fire near Pretoria/Tarva Road, a rural roadway about 10 miles southwest of Albany.
Officials said the Newton Post Office has a list of packages and mail that were being delivered on this particular route for those expecting a delivery.
“There are 43 outstanding ballots in the county,” Sterling, chief operating officer of the Georgia secretary of state’s office, told an Oct. 25 news conference.
“We’re working with USPS to see if they have images of what might have been on that truck, to reissue them. Worst comes to worst, we’ll reissue the 43 ballots, or the county will reissue the 43 ballots, and first across the line for those voters will be the ballots that are accepted.”
Sterling added that this is just one example of the type of issues state election officials might deal with during an election cycle.
Record Early Voting Turnout
A relatively high number of Georgia residents have cast their ballots during the state’s early voting phase of the 2022 midterm elections, surpassing the 2018 election early vote totals.
In a statement on Twitter, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger congratulated Georgia voters, applauding more than a million votes that had already been cast in the state’s midterm elections as of Tuesday.
“We’ve reached 1 MILLION cast votes,” Raffensperger said. “Election officials deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge [and] working hard to serve our communities.”
Congratulations, Georgia voters! We’ve reached 1 MILLION cast votes. Election officials deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge & working hard to serve our communities. Early Voting will continue through Nov. 4th. The deadline to request a mail ballot is Friday! pic.twitter.com/eOKiuoMZP9
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) October 25, 2022
During Tuesday’s briefing, Sterling also said Georgians are continuing to cast their votes in record numbers, FOX 5 reported. The deputy secretary of state noted that on Tuesday alone, 100,000 absentee ballots were received and another 124,000 Georgians voted in person.
Georgia has a highly contested gubernatorial election as well as a contested election for one of the state’s Senate seats. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, faces off against Democrat Stacey Abrams, while Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is being challenged by former NFL star Hershel Walker, a Republican.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is also up for reelection, although election forecasters say that she will most likely prevail over Democrat challenger Marcus Flowers.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.