Georgia’s voter registration deadline is Monday, October 5. Here’s what you need to know

Photo+by+Tiffany+Tertipes+via+Unsplash

Photo by Tiffany Tertipes via Unsplash

Take note: Monday is the last day you can register to vote in the general election Nov. 3 if you’re a Georgia resident. The deadline is the same whether you want to vote absentee, in-person early or in-person on Election Day.

If you’re not a resident of the Peach State, you can check the deadline for voter registration in your home state on this state-by-state guide from vote.org.

Nationally, college students report low voter participation rates, although the percentage of college students who vote rose from 19% in 2014 to 40% in 2018. More college students than ever are projected to vote this year, according to POLITICO. And since young people make up such a large percentage of the population, the 18-29 age group could have a major impact on the results of the election.

Not sure how to register? 

Got two minutes to spare and a phone in your hand? Then you have everything you need to register to vote. Visit vote.org or the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

But first, make sure you’re eligible. 

In Georgia, you must be 18 years old by Election Day to register. If you’re not 18, but your birthday falls on or before Nov. 3, you are still able to go ahead and register now.

You must be a United States citizen and a legal resident of the county you’re registering in. That means most Mercer students should register in the county they call home, not Macon-Bibb (except for those who are legal residents of Macon). 

And if you already registered to vote but your family moved counties before Oct. 4 — 30 days before the election — you may need to re-register if you’re no longer a legal resident of the county you initially registered in. Check your My Voter Page to make sure your registration is still active.

“You also cannot be serving a sentence ‘for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude,’ and you cannot have been found ‘mentally incompetent’ by a judge” in order to register, according to Atlanta Magazine.

Once you’re registered and good to go, check out the My Voter page to access a sample ballot, find your polling place or request an absentee ballot.

OK, I’m registered. But how do I vote?

There are three ways to ensure your voice is heard in the upcoming election: voting in-person on Nov. 3, voting early or voting by mail (also known as voting absentee).

Voting absentee

Absentee voting is a popular choice this year. As of Sept. 30, 1,352,070 Georgians requested absentee ballots — five times more than in 2016, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every state in the nation will allow absentee voting for any reason in 2020, according to usa.gov.

Georgia voters can request a ballot on the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot request portal or by mail after printing an absentee ballot request form from vote.org and mailing it to the county registrar. Make sure you act fast if this is the route you take, as ballots must be received by the registrar on or before Nov. 3 in order to be counted.

When you receive your ballot, make sure you fill it out exactly as the instructions indicate, or you risk your vote not being counted, according to previous reporting by The Cluster

Early voting

Voters can also choose to vote in-person if they feel that voting by mail leaves too much room for error. And it doesn’t have to be on Election Day. For shorter lines and more flexibility, many states — including Georgia — offer early voting. This year, the early voting period runs from Oct. 12-30, although dates and hours vary by county. County-specific information is available on the Secretary of State’s website or your My Voter Page. 

Voting on Election Day

If you prefer to vote in person on Election Day itself, find your assigned polling place on your My Voter page and prepare to be there between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m on Nov. 3. As long as you’re in line before 7 p.m., you will be allowed to remain in line and cast your vote, according to the Secretary of State’s guidelines. Just be sure to bring a photo ID (and your Social Security card if this is your first time voting).

For more information on when, where and how to vote in the 2020 general election, visit vote411.org, the My Voter Page or your county registrar’s website. And above all, don’t forget to register by Oct. 5.