Georgia's secretary of state announced Monday a proactive attempt to prevent out-of-state voters from taking part in the U.S. Senate runoff.
Brad Raffensperger said his office mailed letters to approximately 8,000 individuals who apparently had moved out of Georgia but requested absentee ballots for the Jan. 5 election, per Fox News.
"Qualified Georgians and only Georgians are allowed to vote in our elections," Raffensperger said in a statement. "I have said many times that I will not tolerate out of state voters attempting to undermine the integrity of the vote in Georgia."
Residents temporarily out of state are able to request absentee ballots. That includes students away at college, military members stationed elsewhere and people temporarily in other states due to the pandemic.
Raffensperger said anyone trying to "game the system" will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The letters sent reminded recipients that casting a ballot in Georgia elections without possessing the qualifications is committing a felony under state law. Penalties include a fine of up to $100,000 and as many as 10 years in prison.
The runoff has received much national attention because it will determine which party will hold a majority in the Senate. Republicans currently have a 50-48 edge, but two Democrat wins would allow Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tiebreaking votes, if necessary.
Incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are opposing Democrat challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.
President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Trump in Georgia. It was the first time a Democrat won the state's presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992.
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