This is a landmark year for American democracy—2020 marks both the centennial of women’s suffrage as well as the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The right to vote was hard-won by our forebearers. Atlanta’s own late Congressman John Lewis, who suffered multiple beatings during the Civil Rights Movement, called the vote “the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society.”
This year, Atlanta History Center has used the lens of citizenship to explore different aspects of our city’s past. From Black women’s struggle for suffrage to Atlanta’s winning of the bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games, there’s a lot to learn about what it means to be an active and engaged member of the community.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled below a list resources to help Georgians register to vote, find their polling place, volunteer as a paid poll worker, and request a mail-in ballot.
Get out. and vote!
Voter Registration Deadline for Federal Election Runoff: Monday, December 7, 2020
- Early voting begins for federal general election runoff: Monday, December 14, 2020
- Last day of early voting in the general election runoff: Friday, January 1, 2021
- Federal general election runoff: Tuesday, January 5, 2021
If you turn 18 on or before January 5, then you are eligible to register and vote in the runoff election!
Learn who is on the ballot in your community by visiting Vote 411 from The League of Women Voters Education Fund. Their helpful personalized ballot allows you to search using your address and view statements provided by candidate. You can also print the information to use as a reference when you cast your ballot in-person. Remember, using your cell phone inside of a polling place is illegal, so be sure to print your reference sheet if you want to use it while voting.
Georgia law requires individuals to show photo identification when voting in-person. You are not required to provide identification when you vote absentee by mail.
- Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (learn more below)
- A Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired
- 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 this state
- Valid U.S. passport ID
- Valid U.S. military photo ID
- Valid tribal photo ID
You must bring one of these six forms of identification to vote.
(Via Georgia Department of Driver Services)
The State of Georgia offers a free Voter ID Card. A Voter ID Card can be issued at any county registrar’s office or at Georgia Department of Driver Services free of charge.
To receive a voter identification card at the county registrar’s office, the voter must provide:
- A photo identity document or approved non-photo identity document that includes full legal name and date of birth
- Documentation showing the voter’s date of birth
- Evidence that the applicant is a registered voter
- Documentation showing the applicant’s name and residential addressOR
To receive a free Georgia voter identification card at Georgia Driver Services, voters must provide:
- An original or certified document to prove who you are such as a birth certificate or passport
- Your Social Security card
- Two documents showing your residential address such as a bank statement or utility bill
- If you’ve had a name change, then you’ll also need to bring a document to prove that, such as a Marriage License
- Signed affidavit
- Evidence that you are a registered voter
Georgia law allows for mail-in ballots (also known as absentee ballots) to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application online. Alternatively, voters can complete a paper request form and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.
The deadline to return completed mail-in ballot is Election Day, Tuesday, January 5, 2021—meaning that the ballot should arrive by or be postmarked on or before Election Day.
Poll workers play a critical role in the voting process. They are the boots on the ground responsible for the smooth operation of polling places across the country.
During the pandemic, a significant portion of older poll workers are sheltering in place at home and voting by mail. There is a need for young, healthy people to step in and close the gap.
Along with helping to secure our rights as citizens, poll workers:
- Serve inside a polling place by checking in voters, answering voters’ questions, setting up and testing voting machines, issuing ballots, and other tasks
- Be a resource for voters who encounter problems—from registration issues to voter ID questions to language barriers
- Attend training held by local election officials to learn the mechanics of the voting process and what the rules are
- Get paid for the work you do while serving as a poll worker and, in some cases, get paid for the time you spend in training sessions
These are paid volunteer positions. To learn more about volunteering in Atlanta, resources are linked to below by county. For other counties, visit the Secretary of State’s Secure the Vote website.
- Rock the Vote | Georgia
- My Voter Page | Georgia Secretary of State
- Information on polling places
- Change/update voter registration online
- A quick, user-friendly hub that allows you to check your registration, become a poll worker, and set helpful election reminders
- Vote411 | League of Women Voters Education Project
- Register to vote + check your registration status
- Find out who’s on your ballot
If you have questions, need more information, or have difficulty getting a free Voter Identification Card, you can contact your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Division at:
Telephone (8:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.)
Local: (404) 656-2871
Toll-Free: (844) 753-7825
V/TTY: (404) 656-1787
Fax: (404) 651-9531