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Election Administration in Georgia

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The Presidential Preference Primary is March 1, 2016. The state's general Primary is May 4, 2016. The state's general Primary Runoff is July 26, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Georgia 2016 Elections and Voter Registration Calendar [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The General Election is November 8, 2016. The General Election Runoff for State and Local Offices is December 6, 2016. The General Election Runoff for Federal Offices is January 10, 2017.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Georgia 2016 Elections and Voter Registration Calendar [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Most nominees are determined through primary elections. However, political parties may choose to nominate candidates for statewide office through a convention by either (1) submitting to the Secretary of State a petition that contains a number of signatures equal to 1% of the number people who were registered to vote in the previous general election, or (2) at the previous general election, the political party nominated a candidate for statewide office, and that candidate received a number of votes equal to 1% of the total number of people registered to vote in that election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Ga. Code § 21-2-191 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-191 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-180 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-180 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Georgia Voter Registration Form [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

No; primary elections are open. Each voter expresses their choice of party ballot on a voter's certificate at the polling place on Election Day (or on their primary absentee ballot application).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

OpenPrimaries.org [link]

When can a voter change or switch their party affiliation?

Voters do not register by party in Georgia.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Georgia Voter Registration Form [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

To register to vote, a person must live in Georgia and the city, township, or village in which the person intends to vote. The person's lives at the home where they have no present intention of moving away from.

People who live in an area without house numbers and street names, such as homeless people, should draw the location on the map that is on the voter registration application.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Code § 21-2-217(a)(1) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-217(a)(1) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(a) (state website) [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

A person can register to vote six months before they turn 18 years old, but they must be 18 to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-08)

Ga. Code § 21-2-216 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216 (state website) [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Yes, the right to vote is lost upon conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude. Georgia has not released a list of felonies that involve moral turpitude, and in practice, a person convicted of any felony loses the right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

Ga. Const. art. II, § 1, ¶ III (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (state website) [link]

Ga. Const. art. II, § 1, ¶ III (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Justice Project’s 2014 Felony Disenfranchisement Study Report (p.1) [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

State law requires that a person's entire sentence be completed (including any requirement of imprisonment, probation, parole, and payment of court-ordered fines or fees) before a person can regain the right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (state website) [link]

Georgia Justice Project’s 2014 Felony Disenfranchisement Study Report (p.1) [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

Yes, voters who have a valid Georgia driver's license or Georgia identification card may register to vote online through the Secretary of State's website.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

Ga. Code § 21-2-221.2(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-221.2(a) (state website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

National Mail Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

No person is forced to change their address for voting purposes because of where they are living while enrolled as a student at any college, university, or other institution of learning in Georgia.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-13)

Ga. Code § 21-2-217(a)(8) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-217(a)(8) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

For most elections, the voter registration deadline is the fifth Monday before Election Day (or the following business day, if that Monday is a legal holiday). For special primary and special general elections that are not held in conjunction with a regular primary or regular general election, the voter registration deadline is the fifth Monday before Election Day (or the following business day, if that Monday is a legal holiday) or the fifth day after the call of the special election (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays), whichever is later.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Ga. Code 21-2-224 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-224 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark - Mailed applications must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Ga. Code 21-2-224(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-224(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

How is the deadline enforced for online applications?

Submission - Online applications must be submitted by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Ga. Code § 21-2-221.2(d) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-221.2(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

When must a voter make changes to their registration for the changes to be in effect before the person seeks to vote?

If an elector moves to a residence within the county or municipality and has a different addresss from the addresss contained on the person's registration card, it shall be the duty of such elector to notify the board of registrars of such fact by the fifth Monday prior to the primary or election in which such elector wishes to vote by submitting the change of address in writting or through the Secretary of State's website if the elector has a valid Georgia driver's license.

Source (confirmed on: 10/7/14)

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

No, but there are restrictions and responsibilities that private entities must adhere to. A “private entity” is defined as an individual who is not acting in an official capacity as a registrar or deputy registrar, or a non-governmental organization or other non-government entity that utilizes individuals other than registrars or deputy registrars to conduct voter registration programs.

With each transmittal to election officials of completed voter registration applications, a private entity should include a transmittal summary sheet which, at a minimum, provides the name of the submitting individual, the name of the private entity sponsoring the voter registration programs (if different than the submitting individual), the physical residence or business address of the submitting individual, the daytime and evening telephone numbers of the submitting individual, and the total number of applications being submitted. The failure to include the transmittal summary sheet may not, by itself, be grounds for rejecting the submitted applications. If the private entity encloses a postage-paid, self-addressed envelope along with the copy of the transmittal sheet, the board of registrars must provide a date-stamped copy of the sheet.

While engaging in organized voter registration activity, a private entity must:

  • Advise each applicant that such applicant has the option to return his or her voter registration application personally to the appropriate board of registrars or to the Secretary of State or to permit the private entity to return it on the applicant’s behalf;
  • Inform all applicants that they are not officially registered to vote until their eligibility has been determined by the appropriate board of registrars and that, if the applicant has not received notification of the disposition of the application within three to four weeks of submitting the application, the applicant should contact the appropriate board of registrars to determine if such applicant’s eligibility has been determined and the applicant’s name entered on the official list of electors;
  • Inform all applicants that, if they are registering to vote for the first time in the jurisdiction by mail or through a private entity, they must present current and valid identification either when registering to vote by mail or through a private entity or when voting for the first time after registering to vote by mail or through a private entity;
  • Inform all Georgia applicants of the availability of an online registration status check and polling place locator service on the Secretary of State’s website and encourage all applicants to access it in advance of a primary or election day to verify their registration status and correct polling place; and
  • Inform all applicants of their right, under certain circumstances, to cast a provisional ballot in the event that their names do not appear on the official list of electors at the polls.

For purposes of compliance with these notice requirements, it is sufficient for the private entity either to post such notices in a conspicuous location at any fixed registration site or to provide such notices in written form to the applicant in a brochure, flyer, or other similar manner at the time of application.

A pre-existing form containing the notices that must be provided is available from the Secretary of State.

Different restrictions apply to deputy registrars.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Additional Forms of Notice [link]

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.03 [link]

Voter Registration Rules & Procedures – Individuals & Orgs. (page 4) [link]

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02 [link]

Required Voter Registration Notice Handout [link]

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

Georgia law does not address this issue.

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

No. However, optional instruction and training for private entities conducting voter registration drives must be offered by the board of registrars. Training requests by private entities must be made in writing to the board of registrars. The board of registrars must respond in writing to such requests with a training confirmation, including the date, time, and location such training will take place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02(5) [link]

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

Yes, private entities (see question above, "Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?") cannot do any of the following:

  • Be inebriated or otherwise impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other substances;
  • Conduct voter registration activities at locations where the private entity knows that illegal or criminal activities are being conducted;
  • Conduct voter registration activities in places where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed on the same premises;
  • Accept a completed registration application from the applicant unless such application has been sealed by the application [sic], without a signed acknowledgement from the applicant that the applicant willingly and knowingly provided the unsealed application to the private entity;
  • Refuse to accept and transmit a properly completed and contemporaneously dated voter registration application from any qualified individual;
  • Make any statement to an applicant or take any action that the private entity knows or reasonably should know would discourage a qualified applicant from registering to vote; or
  • Represent to any person that the private entity is a representative of the Secretary of State or a board of registrars authorized by law to receive voter registration applications in person.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02(7) [link]

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

Yes. It is illegal to receive, accept, offer, or provide compensation for soliciting persons to register to vote based upon the number of persons registered and any person who knowingly receives, accepts, offers, or provides such compensation on such basis is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Code § 21-2-602 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-602 (state website) [link]

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever "pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years." At least one federal appellate court has interpreted "payment" as "intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on "an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item." That case held that food vouchers could be "payment."

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that "Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event."

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

If a person who is disabled or illiterate receives assistance from another person to complete the application form, the person offering the assistance must sign the form in the space provided.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(f) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(f) (state website) [link]

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

No.

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

Yes. Completed applications may be copied by private entities prior to submission only with the express written consent of the applicant, and if made may only be kept 90 days. If copies are made with such permission, they may be retained for only 90 days following transmission of the completed voter registration application to the election official. Copies then must be destroyed consistent with statutes as to destruction by businesses of records containing personal information. Further, any copies that are made must be kept in a secure and confidential manner at all times and may not be disclosed to the public; however, a private entity may engage the services of a commercial copying or document management service to make such archival copies provided that the company agrees to maintain the confidentiality and security of the original applications and any copies of the applications in the same manner as is required by private entities under the rule. In addition, a private entity may disclose such archival copies to another affiliated private entity as necessary for use in aiding the applicant with verifying the timely and proper receipt and processing of his/her application by the applicable board of registrars.

A private entity may create and keep a separate record of any information contained on the applicant’s voter registration application that could otherwise be made available for public inspection pursuant to statute (which excludes from inspection the month and day of birth, the social security numbers, e-mail addresses, and driver's license numbers of the electors, and the locations at which the electors applied to register to vote) if collected and maintained by the Secretary of State on the official list of electors. This information may not be used for commercial purposes. Whenever such information is discarded by the private entity, it must be discarded consistent with statutes as to destruction by businesses of records containing personal information.

A private entity is required to keep all completed original voter registration applications in the possession of the private entity in a secure and confidential manner at all times until such applications are submitted to the Secretary of State or the appropriate board of registrars. Except as otherwise provided in the rule regarding private entity voter registration, a private entity shall not disclose any such applications or information contained therein, except as specifically provided in Georgia rules and regulations, to any member of the public. A private entity may collaborate with another affiliated private entity in the securing of completed original voter registration applications that are received during the course of a jointly organized voter registration program.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02(7)(g), (9)(a), (9)(d) [link]

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

Yes, a private entity must promptly transmit all completed voter registration applications to the Secretary of State or the appropriate board of registrars within 10 days after receiving the application or by the close of registration, whichever period is earlier. If a private entity receives a completed voter registration application 14 days or less before the close of registration, the private entity should transmit the application to the Secretary of State or the appropriate board of registrars within 72 hours of the date of the execution of the application or by midnight on the close of registration, whichever period is earlier.

In addition, transmittal of completed voter registration applications may be accomplished by in-person delivery, mail, commercial courier, statutory overnight delivery, or any other form of delivery that is reasonably calculated to secure and ensure the confidential delivery and receipt of such applications by the Secretary of State or the appropriate board of registrars within three business days after transmittal and within the time frames required by the rules and regulations and state and federal law.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02(8)(a)-(b) [link]

What are the consequences for failing to submit applications on time?

Any person who willfully neglects or refuses, within the time and in the manner required by the election law, to deliver any registration card into the custody of the officers who are required by the election law to use or keep it is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-03-28)

Ga. Code § 21-2-562 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-562 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Ga. Code 21-2-224 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-224 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

Yes, in the following circumstances. If a voter moves to a new address within the same county, municipality, or precinct as their old address and does not update their voter registration record by the voter registration deadline, the voter may cast a ballot at the polling place assigned to their former address. If a voter moves from one county in Georgia to another county in Georgia after the voter registration deadline, the voter may cast a ballot at the polling place assigned to the address where they are registered to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Ga. Code § 21-2-218 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-218 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-14)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, people who are unable to read the English language or disabled in such a way as to prevent them from seeing the ballot, operating the voting mechanism, or entering the voting booth unassisted may receive assistance in voting. Poll workers must record the voter's name, the voter's impairment, and the name of the person assisting the voter.

In elections with a federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can choose anyone to serve as their assistant, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. In elections without a federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can choose as their assistant any other voter who lives in the precinct other than a poll worker or poll watcher, or the voter can choose their attendant care provider or the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Additionally, in elections without a federal candidate on the ballot, a person cannot assist more than 10 voters, and a voter cannot be assisted by a candidate or a candidate's other, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law, unless the voter is related to the candidate.

Voters who are illiterate or have a disability may also receive assistance filling out an absentee ballot from one of the following: any person who is qualified to vote in the same county or municipality as the voter; an attendant care provider or a person providing attendant care; or the mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law of the voter who is at least 18 years old. Additionally, if the voter is temporarily staying outside their own county or municipality, a notary public of that jurisdiction may give such assistance. The person assisting the voter must sign the oath printed on the outer absentee ballot envelope. No person may assist more than ten such voters in any election in which there is no federal candidate on the ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-20)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-592 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (state website) [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, people who are unable to read the English language or disabled in such a way as to prevent them from seeing the ballot, operating the voting mechanism, or entering the voting booth unassisted may receive assistance in voting on Election Day. Poll workers must record the voter's name, the voter's impairment, and the name of the person assisting the voter.

In elections with a federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can choose anyone to serve as their assistant, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. In elections without a federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can choose as their assistant any other voter who lives in the precinct other than a poll worker or poll watcher, or the voter can choose their attendant care provider or the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law who is at least 18 years old.

Additionally, in elections without a federal candidate on the ballot, a person cannot assist more than 10 voters, and a voter cannot be assisted by a candidate or a candidate's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law, unless the voter is related to the candidate.

Voters with disabilities or who are illiterate may also receive assistance filling out an absentee ballot from one of the following: any person who is qualified to vote in the same county or municipality as the voter; an attendant care provider or a person providing attendant care; or the mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law of the voter who is at least 18 years old. Additionally, if the voter is temporarily staying outside their own county or municipality, a notary public of that jurisdiction may give such assistance. The person assisting the voter must sign the oath printed on the outer absentee ballot envelope. No person may assist more than ten such voters in any election in which there is no federal candidate on the ballot.

In addition to receiving assistance filling out an absentee ballot, a physically disabled voter can designate any of the following to deliver their completed absentee ballot to the Board of Registrars or the Absentee Ballot Clerk: a person living with the voter; or the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law. Any person who turns in an absentee ballot for the voter must be an adult and present satisfactory proof of their relationship to the voter.

Additionally, a voter who is confined to a hospital on Election Day can have an absentee ballot delivered by the registrar or absentee ballot clerk, mark the ballot, seal it properly, and then return it to the registrar or absentee ballot clerk.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-20)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-592 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409 (state website) [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

During the advance voting period at advance voting locations, and on Election Day between the hours of 9:30am and 4:30pm at the polls, each voter who is 75 years of age or older or who is disabled and requires assistance in voting can, after asking an office or poll worker, be allowed to vote immediately without having to wait in line.

Additionally, persons with disabilities must have the opportunity to vote using an accessible DRE machine or a paper ballot.

Additionally, when registering to vote, a person who is disabled or illiterate may request assistance from any other person in completing the form for registration. The person offering assistance must sign the voter registration form in the space provided to identify the person offering assistance.

For a physically disabled voter living within the county or municipality, an absentee ballot application may, upon satisfactory proof of relationship, be made by the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law who is at least 18 years old. A physically disabled voter or a voter who is at least 65 years old may apply for absentee ballots using a single absentee ballot application for all primary, general, and runoff elections that year, except for special elections and presidential preference primaries.

Additionally, a person who a court determined to be mentally incompetent cannot register to vote, remain registered to vote, or cast a vote until that determination has been removed. Voters who have not been determined to be mentally incompetent cannot be denied the right to vote because they live in a treatment facility for people with mental health disorders or developmental disabilities, and the facility's superintendent or regional state hospital administrator must reasonably assist patients with (1) obtaining voter registration forms, absentee ballot applications, and absentee ballots; (2) complying with other requirements that must be fulfilled for a patient to vote; and (3) voting by absentee ballot if necessary. Additionally, a person cannot be denied the right to vote because the state has appointed a guardian for them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-20)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385.1 (advanced voting lines) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1)(B), (G) (absentee ballot application) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 29-4-20(b) (guardianship) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 37-4-104 (patients) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 37-4-104 (patients) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409.1 (Election Day lines) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-452(h) (paper ballots) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (mental incompetence) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1)(B), (G) (absentee ballot application) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-379.7(d)(4) (DRE or paper ballot) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Absentee Ballot Application [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-216(b) (mental incompetence) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 29-4-20(b) (guardianship) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220 (voter registration assistance) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 37-3-144 (patients) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-452(h) (paper ballots) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-379.7(d)(4) (DRE or paper ballot) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385.1 (advanced voting lines) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-409.1 (Election Day lines) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 37-3-144 (patients) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Const. art. II, § 1, ¶ III(b) (mental incompetence) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220 (voter registration assistance) (state website) [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Yes; in Georgia, it is also called "advance voting," and it involves voters receiving and casting absentee ballots in person at an advance voting location.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(d) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

Voters may cast ballots during the advance voting period at the registrar's office and at any government office building that the registrar has chosen to designate as an advance voting location. In counties with more than 550,000 residents (according to the 1990 census or a later census), any branch of the county courthouse or courthouse annex within the county must be designated as an advance voting location. For a list of advance voting locations by county, click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (state website) [link]

Official Advance Voting Locations List [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

Advance voting is available starting the fourth Monday before any primary, general election, runoff election for a primary, or runoff election for a general election with a federal candidate on the runoff ballot. For a runoff election for a general election in which only state or county candidates appear on the runoff ballot, the advance voting period starts as soon as possible. For all elections, the advance voting period ends on the Friday before the election. During the advance voting period, voters may, at a minimum, cast ballots during normal business hours on weekdays, and voters may also cast ballots between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the second Saturday before Election Day when a state or federal candidate is on the ballot. Counties and municipalities may also establish additional times when advance voting is available. For a list of advance voting locations by county, which includes the days and times that each location is open, click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Official Advance Voting Locations List [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(d) (state website) [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

County Boards of Registrars

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-382 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

A list of voters who cast absentee ballots, including advance voting ballots, is maintained by the county's board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk. This list is a public record that may be inspected or copied (upon payment of actual copying costs) during normal business hours.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-72 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(B) (Justia 2014 website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-72 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(B) (state website) [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

Yes, voters may cast an absentee ballot by mail without an excuse.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-380(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-380(b) (state website) [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

Upon receiving an absentee ballot application by mail during the advance voting period, the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk has three business days to mail an absentee ballot to the voter. Therefore, the voter should apply for an absentee ballot no later than four business days before Election Day, and preferably earlier than this to ensure that there is enough time for the absentee ballot application to be delivered to election officials, the absentee ballot to be delivered to the voter, and the completed absentee ballot received back by election officials by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-14-.11 [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (2014 Justia website) [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

Starting 180 days before Election Day, registered voters may apply for an absentee ballot by filling out the state's absentee ballot application, which is available online here, and submitting it to the county's board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk by mail, fax, e-mail, or in person.

If someone who is not a registered voter applies for an absentee ballot, the clerk or the board must immediately mail to the applicant a voter registration form. If the applicant completes and returns the voter registration form by the voter registration deadline and is otherwise eligible to vote, the applicant will be mailed an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1), (b)(5) (state website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1), (b)(5) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

A voter may submit an absentee ballot application as an attachment to an e-mail.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

No. However, if a registrar or clerk cannot determine the voter's identity based on the information provided on the absentee ballot application, the registrar or clerk must promptly write to the voter to request additional information.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b) (state website) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

Yes. Only voters who are temporarily living outside of the county, and voters who have a physically disability, may designate someone to turn in their absentee ballot application for them. These voters' applications may, upon satisfactory proof of relationship, besturned in only by the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law who is at least 18 years old.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1)(B) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1)(B) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

The absentee ballot must be received by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (2014 Justia website) [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

Postmark. The ballot will be accepted if it is received within 3 days after an election AND postmarked by Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2014-6-26)

GA Code 21-2-386(a)(1)(G) [link]

GA Board of Election Rule 183-1-14.10 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

Yes. Unless the voter is physically disabled, the voter cannot designate another person to deliver their absentee ballot to the board of registrars' or absentee ballot clerk's office. A physically disabled voter may designate an adult person to deliver their absentee ballot upon satisfactory proof that the adult person either lives with the voter or is the voter's mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (state website) [link]

First-time voters

If the voter registered to vote for the first time in Georgia by mail, has not previously provided proper identification to the registrar, and votes for the first time by absentee ballot and fails to provide proper identification either with the absentee ballot or at any other time before the polls close on Election Day, the absentee ballot must be treated as a provisional ballot. The provisional absentee ballot will be counted only if the voter provides proper ID to the registrar within 3 days after Election Day. Proper ID includes any of the following forms of ID:

  • A Georgia driver's license which was properly issued by the appropriate state agency;
  • A valid Georgia voter identification card or other valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification, if the identification card has a photograph of the voter
  • A valid United States passport;
  • A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of Georgia
  • A valid United States military identification card, if it contains a photograph of the voter;
  • A valid tribal identification card containing a photograph of the voter;
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of such elector.

However, the following first-time voters who registered by mail are exempt from this requirement, and their absentee ballot will be treated as a regular ballot even if they do not provide proper ID:

  • Persons who, when registering to vote, submit identifying information (i.e., a driver's license number, state ID card number, or last four digits of Social Security number) with their voter registration application that the registrars can match to information contained in a state database that shows the same number, name, and date of birth as contained in the voter registration application; or
  • Persons who are entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act; or
  • Persons who are entitled to vote otherwise than in person under any other federal law.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-14-.03 [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c)(1) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c)(1) (state website) [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

Yes. A registrar or clerk may deliver an absentee ballot to a person confined in a hospital on Election Day, or during the 5-day period before Election Day, for a primary or general election. Voters should contact the county election official to learn the proper application procedure.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b)(2)(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b)(2)(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-384(a)(4) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-384(a)(4) (state website) [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

A list of voters who cast an absentee ballot, and a list of voters who were sent an absentee ballot, are maintained by the county's board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk. These lists are public records that may be inspected or copied (upon payment of actual copying costs) during normal business hours.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

Ga. Code § 21-2-384(d) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-72 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(B) (Justia 2014 website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-384(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-72 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(B) (state website) [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-25)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

Military voters and overseas voters may vote a military-overseas absentee ballot.

"Military voters" include:

  • Voters, and their spouses and dependents, who are away from their homes because they are on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
  • Voters, and their spouses and dependents, who are members of the Merchant Marine and away from their homes due to their service;

"Overseas voters" include:

  • A person who lives outside the United States and was last qualified to vote in Georgia before leaving the country;
  • A person who lives outside the United States and would have been last qualified to vote Georgia before leaving the United States; *A United States citizen who is permanently living overseas and has never lived in the United States and has at least one parent who is registered to vote in Georgia. Such person may register to vote using their parent's voter registration address.

In Georgia, voters living overseas '''permanently''' may vote only in federal elections.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-219(b)-(e) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-219(b)-(e) (state website) [link]

52 U.S.C. § 20310 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

Military/overseas voters may apply for an absentee ballot by filling out the state's absentee ballot application, which is available online here, and submitting it to the county's board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk by mail, fax, e-mail, or in person. Military/overseas voters can use one absentee ballot application to apply for absentee ballots for all elections that year. Alternatively, a military/overseas voter can apply for an absentee ballot using a Federal Postcard Application or a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, which can also be used to register to vote.

If someone who is not a registered voter applies for an absentee ballot using the state's absentee ballot application, the clerk or the board must immediately mail to the applicant a voter registration form. If the applicant completes and returns the voter registration form by the voter registration deadline and is otherwise eligible to vote, the applicant will be mailed an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-219(b)-(e) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1), (b)(5) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-219(b)-(e) (state website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(a)(1), (b)(5) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Application for Official Absentee Ballot [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

Upon receiving an absentee ballot application by mail during the advance voting period, the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk has three business days to mail an absentee ballot to the voter. Therefore, the voter should apply for an absentee ballot no later than four business days before Election Day, and preferably earlier than this to ensure that there is enough time for the absentee ballot application to be delivered to election officials, the absentee ballot to be delivered to the voter, and the completed absentee ballot received back by election officials by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-14-.11 [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(F) (2014 Justia website) [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

A military-overseas absentee ballot will be counted if it is postmarked no later than Election Day (or contains no postmark) AND it is received within 3 days after Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(G) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(G) (2014 Justia website) [link]

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-14-.10 [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

A military or overseas voter who has made a timely application for an absentee ballot but has not received their ballot may complete and submit an alternative ballot called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). An addendum to the FWAB may also be used to vote for any non-federal offices and ballot questions, so long as the voter is not permanently living overseas.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-381.1 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381.1 (state website) [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

At the polling place assigned to the voter's precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-265 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-265 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

Generally, the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, in cities that have a population of 300,000 or more according to the 1970 census or a later census, the polls must be open for the city general elections and the city special elections until 8:00pm. Voters who are in waiting in line to vote when the polls close are allowed to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-403 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(g) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-403 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(g) (state website) [link]

In the Voting Booth

Are there rules about what materials a voter can and cannot bring into the voting booth?

Yes. In the polling place, voters may not distribute or display any campaign materials or post printed materials. Additionally, voters cannot use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices, cameras, or cellular telephones, unless the poll manager chooses to allow voters to use photographic devices. If the poll manager does allow voters to use photographic devices, such devices cannot be used in any way prohibited by the election superintendent, and under no circumstances may a voter take a photograph of a voter's list or of a physical ballot or DRE machine while a voter is using them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d)-(e) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d)-(e) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

Yes. If the child is the voter's own child, the child can accompany the voter if the child is 17 years old or younger. If the child is not the voter's own child, the child can accompany the voter if the child is 12 years old or younger.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code 21-2-413(f) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(f) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

If an employee's work day starts earlier than 2 hours before the polls open or ends later than 2 hours after the polls close, then the employer must, upon request, give the employee at least 2 hours off to vote. The employer may decide when during the work day the employee may leave to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-404 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-404 (state website) [link]

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Campaigning is not allowed within 150 feet of the building in which absentee/early voting is taking place or within 150 feet of any elector waiting to cast an absentee ballot. This means that candidates or their supporters cannot hold signs, distribute literature of written or printed material of any kind, circulate petitions, or perform any other activities designed to influence someone's vote within these limits.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (state website) [link]

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Campaigning is not allowed within 150 feet of the building in which the polling place is located or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line at the polling place. This means that candidates or their supporters cannot hold signs, distribute literature of written or printed material of any kind, circulate petitions, or perform any other activities designed to influence a person's vote within these limits.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (state website) [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

No. Voters may not wear campaign materials including t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc. into the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-414(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code 21-2-413(d) (state website) [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

No. Voters cannot use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices or cellular telephones while in the polling place. While cell phones are allowed in the polling place, voters cannot use a cell phone or other electronic communication device once they have been issued a ballot or entered the voting machine or voting enclosure or booth. Photographs also cannot be taken of the voter list (paper or electronic). However, a poll manager, in their discretion, may allow the use of photographic devices under any limitations the superintendent finds appropriate.

Source (confirmed on: 10/9/2016)

Ga. Rev. Stat. § 21-2-413(e) [link]

Ga. Rev. Stat. 21-2-414(c) [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Source (confirmed on: 10/14/2016)

Ga. Rev. Stat. § 21-2-414 [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-413 [link]

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

Poll watchers.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

Yes. No candidate can serve as a poll watcher. In addition, in a primary election on Election Day, two poll watchers are allowed per party per precinct. The county party executive committee chooses the poll watchers from a list of names submitted to it by the candidates of that party. During advance voting for a primary or runoff primary, two poll watchers are allowed per party per precinct. The county party executive committee chooses the poll watchers from a list of names submitted to it by the candidates of that party.

In addition, for a general election or general runoff on Election Day, each political party may designate two poll watchers per precinct, each independent candidate may designate one poll watcher in each precinct, candidates running in a nonpartisan election may designate one poll watcher in each precinct. During advance voting for a general election or general runoff, each political party may designate two poll watchers per advance voting location to serve during the advance voting period. Each independent candidate may designate one poll watcher per advance voting location to serve during the advance voting period. In addition, candidates running in a nonpartisan election may designate one poll watcher per advance voting location to serve during the advance voting period.

Additionally, on Election Day and during advance voting for a general election or general runoff, each registered political party and registered political body that has nominated a candidate for statewide office may designate up to 25 statewide poll watchers. Each independent candidate running in a statewide election may also designate up to 25 official statewide poll watchers. In addition, candidates running in a statewide nonpartisan election may designate up to 25 official statewide poll watchers.

Additionally, in counties or municipalities using direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems or optical scanning voting systems, each political party may appoint two poll watchers in each primary or general election, each political body may appoint two poll watchers in each general election, each nonpartisan candidate may appoint one poll watcher in each nonpartisan election, and each independent candidate may appoint one poll watcher in each general election to serve in the locations designated by the superintendent within the tabulating center.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-408 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 10/9/2016)

Ga. Rev. Stat. § 21-2-408(d) [link]

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Yes. A poll watcher is allowed behind the enclosed space for the purpose of observing the conduct of the election and the counting and recording of votes. A poll must at all times wear a badge that says "Official Poll Watcher," the name of the poll watcher, the election in which the poll watcher shall serve, and either the precinct or tabulating center in which the poll watcher serves in or a statement that such poll watcher is a statewide poll watcher. A poll watcher cannot interfere with the conduct of the election, and the poll manager may make reasonable regulations to avoid such interference. Poll watchers '''cannot:'''

  • Talking to voters
  • Check voter lists
  • Use photographic or other electronic monitoring devices or recording devices
  • Use cellular telephones
  • Participate in any form of campaigning while they are behind the enclosed space.

If a poll watcher persists in interfering with the conduct of the election after being duly warned by the poll manager or superintendent, the poll watcher may be removed by such official. Any infraction or irregularities observed by poll watchers must be reported directly to the superintendent, not to the poll manager.

A statewide poll watcher has same powers, duties, and prohibitions as other poll watchers and can watch any advance voting location or polling location in the state. However, no more than two statewide poll watchers of a political party or body, of an independent candidate, or of a nonpartisan candidate can be at an advance voting location or polling place at the same time.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

Ga. Code § 21-2-408(d) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-408(d) (state website) [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, a voter has the right to vote by provisional ballot if the voter believes that they are properly registered to vote and one of the following applies:

  • The voter's name is not found on the list of registered voters in the voter's precinct. In this circumstance, the voter must complete an official voter registration form and a provisional ballot voting certificate, which includes information about the place, manner, and approximate date on which the voter registered to vote. The voter must also swear or affirm in writing that they previously registered to vote for the election, are eligible to vote in such election, have not voted previously in such election, and meet the criteria for registering to vote in such election; or
  • The voter does not show a proper form of ID, if required.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-01-27)

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418 (voter list) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418 (voter list) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (voter ID) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (voter ID) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (voter ID) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (voter ID) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (voter ID) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (voter ID) (state website) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

Yes, partially. The provisional ballot will be counted only for those races and ballot questions that the voter would have been eligible to vote on in their own precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c)(2) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c)(2) (state website) [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

If a voter cast a provisional ballot because they did not present proper ID when voting, then the voter must provide proper ID to the registrars within 3 days after Election Day or the provisional ballot will not be counted.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(b)-(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(b)-(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

At the time a voter casts a provisional ballot, the poll officers must give the voter written information that informs the voter of the existence of a phone number or website that the voter can use to determine whether their provisional ballot counted and, if it was not counted, the reason why.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(d)(2) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418(e)-(f) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(d)(2) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418(e)-(f) (state website) [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

If a polling place runs out of paper ballots, only official ballots furnished by the superintendent or governing authority may be cast or counted.

Source (confirmed on: 2014-06-26)

Ga. Code § 21-2-280 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-280 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If any voting machine breaks during an election and it cannot be repaired or replaced, the polling place must provide voters with paper ballots, which can be either printed or written (and can include blank provisional ballots, which will be counted as regular ballots).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-281 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418(h) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-281 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-418(h) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-326(b) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-326(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

All voters who cast a ballot in person, including voters who cast an absentee ballot in person during advance voting at the registrar's office or the absentee ballot clerk's office, and voters who cast a regular ballot on Election Day at the polls.

Additionally, first-time voters in Georgia who registered to vote by mail and did not provide proper ID or identifying information when registering to vote (other than military and overseas voters) must present ID when they vote for the first time, even if they choose to cast an absentee ballot by mail.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (first-time voters) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b)(1) (advance voting) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (Election Day voting) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-381(b)(1) (advance voting) (Justia 2014 website)] [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (absentee voting by mail) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (first-time voters) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (absentee voting by mail) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (Election Day voting) (state website) [link]

Are there any special requirements for first-time voters?

Yes. Voters (other than military and overseas voters) must provide ID whether they vote in person or absentee by mail if they are voting for the first time in Georgia, registered to vote by mail, and did not provide either (1) identifying information on the voter registration application that matches the name, birthdate, and number (meaning the voter's driver's license number, state ID card number, or last four digits of their Social Security number) contained in another state database, or (2) a copy of proper ID with the application or at any other time before casting their ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What ID is acceptable?

For all voters casting a ballot in person except first-time voters in Georgia who registered by mail, the following forms of ID are acceptable: * A Georgia driver's license, even if expired; * A valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a Georgia voter ID card issued by the county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services; * A valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of Georgia; * A valid U.S. passport; * A valid U.S. military photo ID; * A valid tribal photo ID; * A valid student photo ID issued by a Georgia public university, college, or technical college.

First-time voters who registered to vote by mail and are required to show an ID may show any of the above forms of ID or any the below forms of ID instead:

  • Current utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Government check;
  • Paycheck;
  • Other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (state website) [link]

Georgia's Acceptable Photo ID for Voting: Universities, College, and Technical Colleges [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-220(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (absentee voting by mail) (state website) [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes, if it is a photo ID issued by a public college, university, or technical school in Georgia.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia's Acceptable Photo ID for Voting: Universities, College, and Technical Colleges [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (state website) [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417 (state website) [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

If a voter does not present any of the required forms of ID when voting in person, the voter may cast a provisional ballot. If a first-time voter who registered to vote by mail and is required to show ID does not do so when voting an absentee ballot by mail, that voter's absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot.

For the provisional ballot to count, the voter must present proper ID to the registrar's office within 3 days after Election Day or the provisional ballot will not count.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-386(a)(1)(D) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(b)-(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-417(b)-(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-419(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No

Source (confirmed on: 2012-8-21)

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Any other voter in the county or municipality.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-230(a) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-230(a) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

A voter may be challenged based on any factor relating to their eligibility to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

Yes, the challenger must make the challenge in writing, state the grounds for the challenge, and provide probable cause, or the challenge will be denied.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-230(a)-(b) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-230(a)-(b) (state website) [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

A challenge must be made before the voter casts a ballot at the polls. After the challenge is made, the board of registrars must immediately consider whether there is probable cause to investigate the challenge. If the board finds probable cause, then it must inform the poll workers and, if practical, conduct a hearing and give the challenged voter an opportunity to respond to the challenge. If the registrars sustain the challenge at the hearing, the voter will not be allowed to vote.

If there is not enough time to conduct a hearing before the polls close, the voter may cast a "challenged ballot," and the board will conduct a hearing after the election to determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge. If the challenge is sustained, the challenged ballot will not be counted; if the challenge is denied, the challenged ballot will be counted. After the board renders its decision, either the challenger or the voter may appeal the decision to the state's superior court by filing a petition with the clerk of the superior court within ten days after the date of the decision of the board

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-229(e) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-229(e) (state website) [link]

What are the restrictions on polling place challenges?

A voter's right to vote must be challenged in writing before the voter casts a ballot at the polls or, if the voter casts an absentee ballot, before 5:00pm on the day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-230 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

The State Election Board is responsible for making statewide election regulations. It is also responsible for investigating election law offenses, and it may delegate this responsibility to the Secretary of State. Other state election duties are the responsibility of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is also the chief election official for purposes of administering the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 in Georgia.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-210 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-50 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-50 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-31 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-31 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-31 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Current official

Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

E-mail

Fill out the state contact form by clicking here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Phone

404-656-2871

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Address

Elections Division 2 MLK Jr. Dr. Suite 802 Floyd West Tower Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

The county's election superintendent, except for voter registration, which is administered by the county's board of registrars.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-212 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-2(35) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-70 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-2(35) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-212 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-70 (state website) [link]

What is the county-level election official?

The county's election superintendent, except for voter registration, which is administered by the county's board of registrars.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-212 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-2(35) (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-70 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-2(35) (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-212 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-70 (state website) [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

Municipal election superintendent

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-70.1 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-70.1 (state website) [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

Click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Members of the public.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Secretary of State. To request a voter file, a person should fill out the Voter List Order Form, available here, and mail it to the following address:

Secretary of State’s Office 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Suite 802, West Tower Atlanta, GA 30334

For questions, e-mail
kreaves@sos.ga.gov or electionshelpdesk@sos.ga.gov with the subject “Voter List Files.”

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (state website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Georgia's Voter List Order Form [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

Pricing is set by the Secretary of State's office. Currently, the statewide list of voters costs $250.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (state website) [link]

Georgia Secretary of State's website [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-225 (Justia 2014 website) [link]

What format is the file available in?

CSV format (can be opened in Microsoft Excel).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Georgia's Voter List Order Form [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

Yes, people who request a copy of the official voter file cannot use any information on the voter file for commercial purposes. Additionally, voter registration drives who compile their own voter lists using publicly-available information from the voter registration applications they collect cannot use information from their list for commercial purposes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-02-02)

Ga. Code § 21-2-601 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-225(c) (state website) [link]

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 183-1-6-.02(9)(d) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-601 (state website) [link]

Ga. Code § 21-2-225(c) (Justia 2014 website) [link]