Voting in Georgia 2020: Registering to vote, absentee ballots, and more

The 2020 presidential election is taking place on Tuesday, November 3. The more than 7 million active voters in Georgia can expect a different experience at the polls because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there have never been more options for your vote counted on-time. 

FOX 5 is helping you get prepared for whichever way you choose to vote. We've compiled answers to the questions that will impact you on, and before November 3.

YOU DECIDE 2020: THE ROAD TO NOVEMBER

How can I register to vote?

Registertovote.sos.ga.gov gives Georgians two choices:

  1. Print out a paper voter registration form and mail it in.
  2. Use your Driver's License or State ID Number to register online.

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.

The best way to check your registration status is by visiting the Secretary of State's My Voter page

INSIDE THE VOTE: REGISTER TO VOTE IN GEORGIA

How do I request an absentee ballot?

Across the state, tens of thousands of voters have already logged on to the Secretary of State's new online portal, ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov/, to request an absentee ballot. 

Here's how it works. Type in your:

  • Name
  • Birth Date
  • Driver's License Number
  • Fill out a short form, and you're done.

You can also opt to fill out a paper form, which is available from your county's elections office, and mail it back in.

INSIDE THE VOTE: ABSENTEE BY MAIL VOTING

Deadlines

Registration
Online: October 5
By mail: Postmarked by October 5
In person: October 5

Absentee ballot deadlines
Request: October 30
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3 by 7 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7 p.m.

Early voting
October 12 - 30, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

How do I know what's on the ballot?

This November, every Georgia ballot will include the president and vice president and two senate races. For specific ballot information, visit the Secretary of State's My Voter Page.

Log in with your:

  • Last name
  • County
  • Date of birth
  • Then "click here for sample ballots"

Counties should have their sample ballots ready for voters to review by the end of September. 

INSIDE THE VOTE: KNOW WHAT IS ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER

When do polls open?

Polling stations open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Where do I vote?

State officials are encouraging Georgians to vote with a mail-in absentee ballot. However, you can still vote in person during early-voting periods and on Election Day. In-person voters will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.

FIND YOUR POLLING LOCATION

How do I become a poll worker?

You can sign up at securevotega.com or on your county's election website.

To be a poll worker in Georgia, you must:

  • Be at least 16-years-old
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English

Once selected, poll workers must complete detailed training to learn about election procedures, how to set up a polling place and common problems.

Training lasts anywhere from four to nine hours, possibly more depending on the position and level of responsibility. 

INSIDE THE VOTE: BEING A POLL WORKER IN GEORGIA

What should I expect at the polls?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some counties to relocate or combine polling locations. Additionally, those voting in person will need to wear a mask and undergo a temperature check.

Many counties lost polling places for the June primary because of the pandemic. Both state and local officials have worked to get new locations onboard before November.

The High Museum of Art and State Farm Arena will serve as early voting locations this year in Fulton County.

With so many changes, it is important for voters to confirm their polling location before election day. You can do so by logging on to the Secretary of State's My Voter page.

Election officials say it is critical that people go to the right precinct on November 3, because voters in the wrong place must full out a provisional ballot. Those ballots may not have the right races listed. Not only could you miss out on voting for your state lawmaker or judge, voting provisionally also takes about three times longer.

INSIDE THE VOTE: PRECINTS & POLLING PLACES

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger predicts Georgia will see a record turnout of more than 5 million voters for the November election.

Not all of those voters will cast their ballots in person, but many will and some for the first time on the state's new touchscreen voting system.

Just like in years past, poll workers will hand voters an electronic card with a pre-loaded ballot to insert into the machine. This year, the machine will not only record a voter's choices on the card, but also print out a paper ballot.

You must turn the card over to a poll worker and insert your paper ballot into a scanner before you can collect that famous peach sticker.

Elections officials say the first day and the last two days of early voting are usually the busiest, so if you want to avoid crowds, pick a day somewhere in between.

On Election Day, peak times are from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. until the polls close.

INSIDE THE VOTE: IN-PERSON VOTING

For more information on elections in Georgia, you can visit the Secretary of State's website, and review their voter information guide.