For The Record

Georgia registration deadline looms as voters prepare to give new election rules first big test

By: - October 6, 2022 3:34 pm

Several key election dates are approaching in 2022’s election calendar, including deadlines for voter registration absentee ballot applications, and an early voting period that will run from Oct. 17- Nov. 4.John McCosh/Georgia Recorder (file)

Georgians have until Tuesday to register to vote in time for the Nov. 8 midterm election where they’ll decide who emerges from the rematch between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, whether Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will be unseated by former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker, along with electing the state election chief and top law enforcement official.

Before Georgians mail in their absentee ballots or begin heading to the polls once the three-week early voting period begins Oct. 17, there are some new rules and procedures to know heading into Election Day. 

Government offices will be closed on Monday for Columbus Day, but anyone trying to register before the Tuesday deadline can do so online at the secretary of state’s My Voter Page. 

The portal also lets Georgians find their early voting and Election Day polling sites, verify their registration status, update information, view sample ballots and track the status of mail-in ballot applications and absentee ballots. 

Strong turnout is expected this election season with high-profile races on the ballot for governor, Senate, attorney general, secretary of state, lieutenant governor, and state Legislature in Georgia.

One million new voters registered in Georgia since the November 2020 presidential election, when 5 million out of 7.6 million registered voters cast their ballots. 

Georgia’s voting law overhaul of 2021 added new ID requirements for voting absentee and also placed restrictions on the availability of ballot drop boxes that were popular in many places in the pandemic-plagued 2020 election cycle. 

According to www.georgiavotes.com, by Thursday about 182,300 voters had requested mail-in ballots for the Nov. 8 election, or 27% more than the last midterm election in 2018. For context, Kemp won his bid for governor by about 55,000 in 2018.

On Monday registrars can begin mailing voters absentee ballots.

The deadline to submit absentee ballot applications is 11 days before Election Day and can be returned by mail, email attachment, fax or in person at local elections offices.

The new rules require county registrars to provide at least one drop box for voters to deposit their ballots. Drop boxes will only be available inside designated early voting locations and the registrar’s office while polls are open.

Provisional ballots will also be handled differently than in the past if a voter shows up at the wrong polling place on Election Day. Prior to 5 p.m. voters who want their ballots counted must either go to their correct polling place or provide an affidavit explaining why they can’t make it before polls close at 7 p.m.

Should you forget a photo ID on Election Day, you can fill out a provisional ballot and present a copy of the identification to the county election office within three days after the election.

For more information on how to vote in Georgia:

Democracy Works https://howto.vote/vote/en/ga.html

Secretary of State’s Office https://sos.ga.gov/elections-division-georgia-secretary-states-office

County Board of Registrar’s Office information https://elections.sos.ga.gov/Elections/countyregistrars

Important dates on the 2022 election calendar:

Oct. 10: Earliest day for registrar to mail an absentee ballot

Oct. 11: Last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8 general election

Oct. 17: Three week early voting  begins 

Oct. 22: Statewide Saturday voting 

Oct. 28: Deadline to submit an absentee ballot application for general election

Oct. 30: Optional Sunday voting at county discretion  

Nov. 4: Final Day for early voting

Nov. 7: Last day for a person to register to vote in the general election runoff for federal races

Nov. 8 Election Day, polls open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.; absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m.

Dec. 6: Runoffs for races where no candidate wins at least 50% of the vote by Election Day

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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.

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