Inside the Vote: How to register to vote in Georgia
ATLANTA - There are more than 7 million active voters in Georgia, but that number is constantly changing as new people register and others drop off the state's list.
From the streets of Atlanta to the comfort of your own home computer, it has never been easier to register to vote.
Registertovote.sos.ga.gov gives Georgians two choices:
- Print out a paper voter registration form and mail it in.
- Use your Driver's License or State ID Number to register online.
"You go to the Secretary of State's website, put in all your information and you can register that way. Or if you're getting your driver's license, that's the quickest, easiest way if you just moved to Georgia," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told FOX 5.
To be eligible to register, you must be at least 17 and a half years old and a citizen of the United States. You cannot be serving time for a felony conviction or declared mentally incompetent.
Once you register, make sure to keep your registration up to date. Having the right address on file means you will vote for the people who actually represent you.
Changing your address without changing your voter registration to match could lead to cancellation.
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Since the 1990s, state and federal laws have required elections officials to keep the voter rolls updated. Although in recent years, the practice has sparked controversy.
According to the Secretary of State's Office, there are three things that trigger the cancellation process:
- A voter files a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service
- Official election mail, like an absentee ballot request form, is returned undeliverable.
- A person has no contact with elections officials for three years.
"Contact" is defined as voting in an election or primary, signing a petition, revising your voter registration or updated your Driver's License.
"If you've been inactive for a long period of time, then you'll go on what's called the 'inactive list.'"
According to Raffensperger, once you go on the inactive list, there are then three more steps before the state cancels your registration altogether.
- County elections officials send a confirmation letter to your address. If you do not respond, you remain on the inactive list.
- If you go two more general elections without contact.
- Elections officials send out one more notice informing you that you have 30 days to respond online, by mail, or in person before the state cancels your registration.
During regular list maintenance in 2019, the Secretary of State's Office also published a list of the more than 313,000 registrations subject to cancellation.
"So, it's a long process to make sure that people are still there. We want to make sure that the list is accurate so that your election officials can plan for the number of people that could show up on Election Day," Raffensperger said.
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The state ultimately removed more than 290,000 inactive voters from the rolls in 2019, though a new report by the Palsat Investigative Fund and released by the ACLU of Georgia concluded that more than 198,000 of those canceled likely never moved.
The best way to check your registration status is by visiting the Secretary of State's My Voter page. If you are no longer active, you can simply register again.
The deadline to register for the November 3 election is Monday, October 5.