How to Vote in Georgia

FT Contributor
A man putting a ballot in a box in front of the Georgia state flag.
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How to Register to Vote in Georgia

Georgia residents register to vote via the Secretary of State. To be eligible to register, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be 17½ years old. You must turn 18 before you can vote.
  • Be a legal resident of the county in which you’re registering.
  • Not incarcerated for certain felonies, or found mentally incompetent by a judge.

To vote in any election, you must be registered about 30 days in advance. For the upcoming general election on November 3, Georgia voters must be registered by October 5, 2020.

You may register to vote in person, online, or via mail. To register online, use the state’s online voter registration system. You can only do this if you have a valid Georgia driver’s license or identification card; otherwise, you must register by mail. Once you submit the online form, processing takes two to four weeks. You’ll receive an acknowledgement of your registration by mail along with your precinct card, which tells you where to vote.

If you don’t have your Georgia identification, you’ll be directed to fill out the online form and mail it to the Secretary of State’s office for processing. New residents of the state can register to vote when they get their Georgia driver’s license.

The online voter registration system also allows voters to change their address. If you move within the state, you’ll need to update your voter registration so you will vote in the correct place.

Am I Registered to Vote in Georgia?

Georgia residents can check their voter registration status, as well as learn the location of their polling places, see sample ballots, and find other election related information on the Georgia My Voter Page. Simply enter your name, county, and date of birth to log in and find the information you need.

Early Voting in Georgia

Georgia allows early voting at designated polling places and by absentee ballot. Specific early voting dates and locations vary by county, and depending on the location, may begin as much as a month before the scheduled election. For the general election in November 2020, early voting will begin on October 20.

To find out whether your county offers early voting and where you can vote in-person, visit the Advanced Voting Location page on the Secretary of State’s website, and choose your county from the dropdown menu.

You also have the option to vote absentee and submit your ballot by mail. To request an absentee ballot, mail, fax, or email the application as an attachment to the County Board of Registrars office in your county. You can also deliver the application to that office in person. Your application may be submitted no more than 180 days before the election, but must be requested well before the election. County registrars are required to mail absentee ballots to voters by September 15, 2020 for the November general election, so you must request your ballot in advance of that date.

When you receive your absentee ballot, it will include information about mailing deadlines, as well as a pre-addressed return envelope.

Voting in Georgia on Election Day

When you register to vote in Georgia, you will receive a printed precinct card that tells you where you should vote on Election Day. You do not need to bring this card with you to vote, as it’s merely informational. If you aren’t sure where to vote, you can visit the My Voter Page online to find that information.

Georgia requires voters to show identification before voting at polling places. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Georgia driver’s licenses;
  • Any federal or state identification cards;
  • State, federal, or local government employee identification cards;
  • U.S. passports;
  • U.S. military identification cards;
  • U.S. tribal identification cards.

If you do not have any of these forms of identification, Georgia offers free voter identification cards, which you can acquire at the County Registrar’s office of the Department of Driver’s Services. You’ll need to prove your identity with a photo ID or approved non-photo ID that shows your full legal name, proof of residency, proof of voter registration, and proof of your birth date.

Why Voting Is Important

Voting is a civic duty, and the foundation of a democratic society. When you vote, you’re letting your voice be heard and influencing the way your local, state, and federal government operates.

Not only does voting allow you to choose the representatives who will make decisions about important issues such as state taxes, education, and public safety, you can help determine the outcome of important referendum issues. For example, your vote may help determine your state’s minimum wage rules or vaccine requirements. When you don’t vote, you’re allowing others to decide for you, and giving up one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our nation’s founders.  

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