As voter registration deadlines near and the election cycle commences, the Wheel compiled a voting guide for students navigating the registration process.
How can I register to vote?
In order to register, you must be eligible to vote in the U.S., which means you must be a citizen of the U.S. and meet your state’s residency and age requirements. You must be at least 18 years old on Election Day.
In Georgia, you must be at least 17.5 years old and a legal resident of the county to register. If you are living in on-campus University housing, you qualify as a resident of Georgia.
If you are currently in Georgia, you can choose to register in your home state or in Georgia. If you are not in Georgia this semester and have not previously registered to vote in the state, you will not be able to request a ballot. Instead, register to vote in the state you are currently residing.
Registration is different for each state and you can find the registration requirements for each here. Emory students can also use TurboVote, a website developed by the non-partisan group Democracy Works, which provides information about the registration and voting process nationwide.
Students with a Georgia driver’s license or state identification card can register to vote at Georgia Secretary of State’s website. If you do not have a state-issued ID, you must print out the registration application, provide the last four digits of your Social Security number and mail it to the address provided on the registration.
What address do I provide on my application?
If you live on the Atlanta campus, your residence address and mailing address is: 1762 Clifton Rd NE, MSC ###### (your MSC number is found on your MyHousing portal), Atlanta, GA 30322. You are a resident of DeKalb County.
If you live on the Oxford campus, your residence address and mailing address is:
810 Whatcoat St., MSC ###### (your MSC number is found on your MyHousing portal), Oxford, GA 30054. You are a resident of Newton County.
If you are in Georgia but live off campus, provide your street address.
What if I have already registered in Georgia but am not in the state this semester?
You are still eligible to vote in Georgia via an absentee ballot if you previously registered to vote using your on-campus address but are not in the state this semester. Assistant Coordinator for the Emory Votes Initiative Sarah Zaslaw confirmed in an email to the Wheel that remote students’ MSC addresses will remain active and can still be used to establish residency. See “How do I request an absentee ballot?” for more information.
If you are already registered in Georgia but you would prefer to vote in your home state, you can change your registration. Although you are allowed to be registered to vote in more than one state, you cannot fill out a ballot in more than one state.
Check registration deadlines for each state here.
How do I know if I am registered to vote in Georgia?
Visit the Georgia Secretary of State website to check if you are still registered to vote in Georgia. You will be prompted to provide basic personal information and select the county where you are registered, which is DeKalb if you used an Atlanta campus address and Newton if you used an Oxford campus address.
You can also check your voter registration status here.
What are my options to vote in Georgia this year?
In Georgia, you may either vote in person on Election Day, vote early in person or vote by an absentee mail-in ballot.
Voting by mail is the safest way to cast a ballot during the pandemic. However, give yourself extra time to allow for your ballot to be mailed and account for potential delays by the postal service. Be aware of when your ballot must arrive in your state for it to be counted. Scroll to “How do I request an absentee ballot?” for more information about mail-in voting.
Voting in person on Election Day is likely the riskiest option during the pandemic and will have the longest lines, so be prepared to wait. Go to your assigned polling precinct on Election Day which you can find on your MyVoter page in Georgia. TurboVote will also remind you of which polling precinct to attend.
Voting in person early is another option for you this year. Go here to see when your state’s early voting begins and ends. In Georgia, early voting begins on Oct. 12 and ends the Friday before Election Day. Check here to see the voting locations by county.
What is an absentee ballot?
An absentee ballot, also known as mail-in voting, is a way of voting without going to a polling station. Voting by mail is the safest way to cast your vote during the pandemic. However, provide yourself extra time due to potential delays. Contrary to claims by President Donald Trump that voting by mail will lead to rampant fraud, voter fraud through vote-by-mail does not pose a heightened risk and is secure.
Historically, some states have required a reason for requesting an absentee ballot such as military service or temporary relocation outside of your state of residence. Other states have adopted “no excuse absentee voting” and nine states automatically mail ballots to voters.
Due to COVID-19, almost all states have taken away the need to give a valid excuse in order to obtain an absentee ballot except for Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and South Carolina.
How do I request an absentee ballot?
If you registered to vote in Georgia but are in a different state this semester our if you are in the state and prefer to cast your vote by mail, you must print out an absentee ballot request form and mail it to your county board of registrars’ office. On the absentee ballot request form, provide your on-campus address under “Permanent address on file with county election office,” and provide your current address under “Temporary address where your want ballot sent.”
In Georgia, the absentee ballot request form must arrive at your county board of registrars’ office by Friday, Oct. 30 at the latest. You can find the absentee ballot deadlines for each state here.
What important dates do I need to know?
Sept. 29 is the date of the special election for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, held by the late-civil rights icon John Lewis. The winner of this election will serve the remainder of Lewis’ term until January 2021.
Oct. 5 is the deadline to register to vote in Georgia. You can find the voter registration deadlines for each state here.
Oct. 12 is when early voting begins in Georgia. Find out when early voting begins in your state here.
Oct. 30 is the date your absentee ballot request form must arrive at your county board of registrars’ office in Georgia. You can find the absentee ballot deadlines for each state here.
Nov. 3 is Election Day in the United States. Georgia absentee voters must ensure that their ballot has been received by the county elections office by this date. If you are in the military or overseas, the ballot must be received within three days of Election Day. You can find absentee ballot deadlines here.
What is a voter registration card?
When you register to vote, you will be sent a voter registration card. It confirms that you are registered and your vote information is in order. This card, however, is not required to vote; it simply informs the voter that all the information is in order.
If I am a Georgia voter, which seats are being contested this election cycle?
In addition to the presidential election, a number of federal and local elections are being contested this cycle.
A special election will be held on Sept. 29 for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District to determine who will serve out the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ (D-Ga.) term.
The election for the full two-year term for the 5th Congressional District that begins in January will be on Nov 3. The qualified candidates are Angela Stanton-King, an author and motivational speaker who was pardoned by President Donald J. Trump in Feb. 2020 and Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party.
There are two U.S. Senate races being contested, one to succeed David Perdue (R-Ga.) and the other to succeed Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). Both are running for re-election.
Perdue is running against Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel.
Loeffler took office in January 2020 after former Sen. John Hardy Isakson (R-Ga.) retired for health reasons. The election will determine who serves out the remainder of Isakson’s term, which ends in 2022.
Loeffler’s seat is contested through an open election — there was no primary process — and has 21 qualified candidates. There are a number of Georgia state elections for district and county offices. You can view all qualified candidates and sample ballots through your Georgia My Voter Page.