For many college students, the upcoming Georgia midterms will be the first election where they are voting age. While Nov. 8 may seem far away, the deadline to register to vote in Georgia is Oct. 11, just a few days away.
In order to be able to vote, you must become a registered voter. The process takes about 15 minutes to complete and requires a social security number and another form of identification, such as a valid driver’s license. Click here to be directed to the official voter registration site for Georgia.
The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections Interim Election Supervisor, Thomas Gillon, suggests that those who are out of state should find their respective resources that will register their information in their home state in order to vote. This link will allow you to search for your state or territory in the U.S.
If you are unsure about the status of your registration, you can check through the same website where you register.
Gillon suggests that before voting, the voter should research the candidates and know who is going to be on the ballot. They should know where the candidates stand on important issues in order to make an informed decision. It is not required to vote for every position, so there is no problem with not placing votes in unfamiliar races.
According to The Campus Vote Project, the millennial and Gen-Z populations in the U.S. have the greatest size but had proportionally the least voter turnout of any other groups. By one estimate, voter turnout among people aged 18 to 29 was 17%. College-aged citizens who are eligible to vote can be most impacted by legislation passed in the years following an election, thus the vote can work to ensure that the legislation benefits them.
If you would like to vote via mail, you have the option to register for an absentee ballot.
You have the option to request a ballot via email, letter, fax or in person. According to the Georgia Secretary of State's website, it is strongly advised to request a ballot early so that it may be received and subsequently cast on time. Be sure to follow all directions on the mail-in ballot form carefully as any discrepancies can lead to your vote being discounted.
The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot in Georgia is Oct. 28. Absentee ballots will be accepted at polling and collection centers up to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.
Gillon suggests that if you are living outside of your precinct and are requesting an absentee ballot, you should make sure to quickly send in your ballot from a ballot drop box inside the county to which you are registered so that it can be counted. For Georgia, you may find your ballot drop box locations here. Other locations to turn in your ballot are your county registrar.
Verify in the days following your submission of the ballot that it is received at this site. If there is an issue found with your mail-in ballot, you will find out through that website, and you will be given a chance to correct it so that it may be counted.
If you would prefer to vote in person, you can find your voting precinct here. A form of identification such as a driver’s license or passport is necessary to vote in person, and although it is not required, it is advised to have your voter registration card on hand.
There are many independent organizations that follow races and outline the goals of each candidate, vote411.org being one of them. Additionally, you may find a sample ballot which should list all those running on the official Georgia website. On each, you need only enter basic information before it shows you what to expect on election day.