This morning the Georgia State Election Board passed two new rules that will be in effect for the two January 5th Senate run off elections. I can’t seem to get a clean link from CNN but here is the gist of the matter.

The first rule extends the use of secure, monitored, drop boxes that will be available 24/7 through the Jan. 5 runoff. Voters can use these drop boxes to deliver their absentee ballots – a rule that was also in place during November’s general election. Counties are required to use video surveillance to monitor the drop boxes for security.     

The second rule will require counties to begin processing absentee ballots one week and a day before election day. While this new rule makes it clear that counties have to start scanning absentee ballots a week and one day before election day, none of the absentee ballots are tabulated until the polls close on Jan. 5, per Georgia law. Georgia’s larger counties are authorized to start processing and scanning absentee ballots two weeks in advance of Jan. 5. 

The five-member election board is chaired by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. According to his office, at least 762,000 absentee ballots have been requested for January’s Senate runoff so far.

What’s at stake: The expected twin Georgia runoff elections in January will determine control of the Senate. This will encapsulate the structural challenge facing Democrats as they battle to secure a majority in the chamber that could determine the shape of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Wisconsin had secure 24×7 drop boxes for the November 3rd election in many of its larger cities…Milwaukee included. So this wouldn’t be a change. But Wisconsin currently doesn’t allow the processing of absentee ballots until the polls open on election day…which is why Milwaukee announced a large number of votes at 3:30 AM on November 4th…causing President Trump to scream foul…despite everyone acknowledging BEFORE the election that this was going to happen. So it will be interesting to see how the second rule works for Georgia. Or will we be seeing lawsuits before then.

If it works smoothly, and why shouldn’t it, Wisconsin should consider allowing absentee ballots to be at least pre-processed before election day (preparing them to run through the machines) if not actually tabulated.

And I have to give props to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. This man has been nothing but grace under fire…a job well done…as he counts his November 3rd ballots for a third time and being distracted from getting ready for the run offs.

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