This is a guideline for voting in the November presidential elections and everything you need to know about the process.
How do I know if I am eligible to vote?
In order to participate in the voting process in Georgia, you must be a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you plan to vote and 18 years of age by election day. Additionally, to vote on November 6, 2012, you must have been previously registered or filled out a voter registration application by Monday, October 15, 2012. If you are unsure of your registration status, you can check on your status through the Secretary of State's website at mvp.sos.state.ga.us/ or you may contact your county voter registration office at http://sos.georgia.gov/cgi-bin/countyregistrarsindex.asp
You may also contact the Secretary of State's office at 404-656-2871 or (V/TTY) 656-1787 for information.
How do I know if I am registered to vote?
For a one-stop shop to check your voter registration status, find your designated poll location and directions, early voting locations, have access to mail-in applications and ballots, status, get information on elected officials, registration information on file with the County office and see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, visit "My Voter Page" at mvp.sos.state.ga.us/.
Voting at the Polling Location on Election Day
On Election Day, the polling places in Georgia are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. If you are 75 years old or above or have a disability, you can go to the poll locations between 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM and you will not have to wait in line to vote. Simply ask a poll officer to assist you to the front of the line. Each voter must vote at the polling location designated for the precinct the voter lives in. For more information on the location or accessibility of your specific polling location, contact your county elections office or you may contact the Secretary of State's office at 404.656.2871 or (V.TTY) 656.1787 for more information.
What if I get to my polling location and need assistance?
There are several options for voters with disabilities who need assistance when they arrive at their polling location. If any person is unable to sign his or her name, unable to see or mark the answers on the ballot, use the voting equipment or cannot enter the voting booth without support, they may bring someone to help them. A voter with a disability can receive support from any individual EXCEPT his or her employer, representative of his or her employer or a representative of his or her union, nor a poll worker or poll watcher, who is a resident of the precinct in which the voter needing support is trying to vote in. Voters with disabilities can receive assistance from any other individuals including a mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, friend or child, and each individual assisting the voter with a disability must record his or her name on the elector's voter certificate.
In order to assist each voter properly, the Georgia Secretary of State has a State of Georgia Poll Worker Manual that is a guide for the administration of elections conducted by county election officials for poll workers. This guide outlines good practices for voters with disabilities and how to assist them. Additionally, poll officers and workers are provided training regarding the use of voting equipment, procedures and all aspects of state and federal laws applicable to conducting election.
For voters with disabilities who do not require support to vote from another individual, but require accommodation in the form of assistive technology, there are accessible touch screen voting equipment options provided at the polls that allow for assistance but give more privacy and independence to select your choices. These options include:
- An audio ballot for those with visual impairment or who are blind, using headphones and a number keypad similar to an automated phone service
- A magnifying feature is available on every touch screen voting unit in Georgia that allows you to enlarge the print on the ballot
- Every polling place in Georgia provides at least one touch screen voting unit that allows a voter to vote while sitting in a chair or wheelchair
What do you need to vote?
Be sure to show up to your polling location prepared to vote. You must bring photo identification. The acceptable forms of photo identification include:
- A Georgia driver's license, even if expired
- Any valid state or federal issued photo ID, including a free voter ID card issued by your county registrar's office or by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
- Valid US passport
- Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency or entity of the US government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
- Valid US military photo ID
- Valid tribal photo ID
What do I do if I do not Have Qualified Identification?
For many in the disability community, not having qualified identification or a driver's license is often a barrier to the voting process. This has long been a controversial issue within the community and many feel it is burdensome. While improvements need to be addressed for this issue, if you fall in this category, you can get either a FREE Georgia Identification Card for voting purposes only from the Department of Driver Services or a FREE Georgia Voter Identification Card at your County Registrar's Office.
In order to get a Georgia Voter Identification Card, you will need the following:
- A photo identity document or a non-photo identity document showing your full legal name and date of birth
- Documentation showing your date of birth
- Evidence you are registered to vote in Georgia; and
- Documentation showing your name and the address of principal residence
For more information visit,
sos.georgia.gov/cgi-bin/countyregistrarsindex.asp to find your County's Registrar's Office or visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services website at http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/dldata.aspx?con=1749371755&ty=dl
Are there other options to voting on Election Day?
In Georgia, there are a couple of ways to submit your vote without ever having to battle the crowds on Election Day. Any voter can request a mail-in ballot without having to provide a reason. To request a mail-in ballot, visit http://sos.georgia.gov/elections/elections/voter_information/absentee.htm and print out the application form. Once you fill out your form, you can mail, fax or take the form in person to your local County Board of Registrar's Office. It is important to request your mail-in ballot and return it as soon as possible, to ensure it is received by the deadline, which is the close of the polls on the actual Election Day. If you have a disability and need support to read and/or write your forms, you may get help when filling out your mail-in ballot application and the absentee/advance ballot form you will receive. Any person who assists an individual in his or her vote, must sign an oath that is printed either on the mail-in ballot envelope or on the application for mail-in-ballot, whichever is applicable.
Georgia also offers it citizens the option to vote in person at the polls before the big rush on Election Day. Early/advance voting is easy and convenient, since it allows you to vote on a day and time that works for you. For the schedule on early voting, visit http://sos.ga.gov/elections/countycontacts/AdvanceVotingDisplay.aspx for more information.