Make your voice heard!
Elections provide an opportunity for you to express your opinion on the people you want to represent you at local, state, and federal levels as well as on issues in your jurisdiction such as local tax and funding proposals. Simply put, voting is a cornerstone of our American democracy at local and national levels. Anyone that fits the following profile can register to vote in Georgia:
- Citizen of the United States
- Legal resident of a county in Georgia
- At least 17 ½ years of age to register (18 years of age to vote)
- Not serving a sentence for conviction of a felony
- Not been found mentally incompetent by a judge
If you have had trouble casting your ballot or are unsure where to begin, empowerline can help. In addition, this Georgia Voter tip sheet summarizes your three options for voting in Georgia and checking your registration status.
How do I register to vote?
Is this your first time voting in an election? Or have you moved – whether down the street, across Georgia, or between states – since the last time you voted? If your answer is yes to either question, you must register to vote using your current home address, 30 days BEFORE an election. So, if you plan to vote in the May 19, 2020 election, you must be registered on or before April 20, 2020. Note for a run-off election, you must have been registered by the registration date for the initial election.
To register to vote in Georgia or update your voter registration information if you moved since the last election, visit the state’s Online Voter Registration System page. You may only register online if you have a valid Georgia driver’s license or identification card issued by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). Note if you also need to obtain a new driver’s license or identification card from DDS, you can register to vote at the same time you visit a Georgia DDS office. You also have the option to use the electronic voter registration form to autofill an application, specifying the last four digits of your Social Security number if you don’t have a valid form of Georgia DDS identification, and then print, sign, and mail your application to your county registrars’ office.
If you don’t want to fill out a form online, you can print the blank State of Georgia voter registration application (postage-paid), complete it, and mail or hand deliver it to the Secretary of State’s office. If you don’t have access to a computer and printer, you can find a voter registration application form in-person at your local county board of registrars’ office or election office, public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools, and other government offices.
Please note: Georgia is an open registration state, which means that you do not have to specify your political party when you register to vote.
How do I confirm that I’m registered to vote?
Once your voter registration application is approved, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail that tells you your voting precinct.
You can check whether you’re already registered to vote at your current home address in Georgia by entering your information under “MVP Login” on the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page. If you realize your information is not up to date, see above for “How do I register to vote?”.
Where can I find registration deadlines, sample ballots or information on my U.S. or State District?
Your My Voter Page will also provide you with helpful information such as your polling location, your early voting locations and times, a sample ballot, and your U.S. Congressional District and Georgia Senate and House Districts.
You must register to vote 30 days BEFORE an election. The Georgia Secretary of State posts registration deadline and election dates that you can check to ensure you register in time to vote.
When and where do I vote?
You have three options for exercising your right to vote:
- Election Day Voting (in person) – Polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm. Your precinct location can be found on your voter registration card, or you can look it up online. You must bring photo ID to your polling location to vote.
- Early Voting (in person) – Georgia allows early voting starting 21 days before a general election. Below you will find links to each county’s election office, where you can vote early. Bring photo ID. You cannot vote at this location on election day.
- Vote by Mail (“Absentee Ballot”)– In Georgia, you may choose to vote by mail, fax, or email, also known as “absentee”, regardless of reason (note eligibility varies by state).
In order to vote absentee, you must first submit an application via mail, fax, email, or in-person to your local County Board of Registrars’ Office. You must submit a SEPARATE absentee ballot request form for each election, unless you are over the age of 65, disabled, or a military or overseas citizen in which case you only need to submit one application for the General Primary, General Primary runoff (if any), General Election, and General Election Runoff (if any) in an election cycle (be sure to check the appropriate box on the application). Absentee ballots will become available 45 days before election day but can be requested as early as 180 days before the election. If your application is approved, your ballot will be mailed to you.
After you receive and complete your ballot, your county’s election office must receive it on or before election day. So, if you plan to vote in the upcoming May 19, 2020 election, the county election office must receive it by April 20.
During primary elections, you may be asked to choose either a Democratic or a Republican ballot. Some primaries are nonpartisan, in which case you would not be asked to select a partisan ballot. In general elections, such as the May 19, 2020 election, you do not have to select a party-specific ballot.
I have a disability – are the elections accessible?
Yes, all polling places must be fully accessible to all people by Georgia law. There will be trained poll workers on site to take care of your needs.
If you are age 75 or older or you have a disability, you do not have to wait in line if you show up between 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Simply tell a poll worker if you would like to move to the front of the line.
To learn more about accessibility, you can call the Secretary of State’s Office at (404) 656-2871 for more assistance or read about voting with a disability in Georgia.
How can I find a ride to the polls?
If driving is not an option for you, but you can pay for a ride, go to SimplyGetThere.org to find a ride (including accessible rides for individuals with problems getting around) or contact empowerline.
In addition, some organizations offer free rides to the polls on election day. For example, your local senior center, community center, or place of worship may offer rides to the polls in your area. You can also contact a ProGeorgia coalition member organization to find out if they can offer a ride to your polling location.
What are my rights as a voter? How can I advocate for those rights?
If you are a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of a county in Georgia, and at least 17.5 years of age, you have the right to register to vote in Georgia (note you must be 18 years of age to vote on election day). However, if you were convicted of a felony, you are ineligible to vote while incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, but your voting rights should be automatically restored upon completion of all supervised release. Ex-offenders must re-register to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia has factsheets in English and Spanish about voting rights in Georgia that provide additional details about the voting process, such as time off from work to vote, acceptable forms of identification, and problems at the polls. The ACLU also has a Voter Protection Hotline that you can contact at (877) 523-2792 if you think your right to vote has been denied. Election Protection also has a national protection hotline – (866) OUR-VOTE – and provides information for voting in Georgia and across the United States.
You can learn about your rights as a voter with disabilities from the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access page of the Georgia Advocacy Office. You can also read about the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging has developed a clearinghouse of information related to Voting and Cognitive Impairments to promote proper access to voting and prevent the votes of people with disabilities from being manipulated.
ProGeorgia is a coalition of nonpartisan 501(c)3 non-profits that are invested in advancing civic engagement. Their goals are to increase voter engagement, provide issue organizing, and coordinate work and shared contracts. Consider contacting a coalition member organization that focuses on your interests if you are looking for specific assistance.
If you would like to speak with an empowerline representative to learn more about your voting options, please chat with us via the buttons below, or call us at (404) 463-3333.
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