Thursday, February 4, 2010

Registering to Vote in Georgia

If you intend to vote in an election in Georgia, you should register as soon as possible. While most elections are still several months away, there are deadlines to register for each election. It is important to remember that you cannot register and vote on the same day.

Georgia law requires prospective voters to be at least 18 years of age and to be a citizen of the United States and the county in which they intend to vote. People serving a sentence for a felony or judged by a court to be mentally incompetent are not eligible to vote. It is illegal to register and vote in more than one location. For example, if you have a home in Georgia and vacation home in Florida, you must choose only one state in which to vote.

There are several ways to register to vote in Georgia. Voter registration forms can be found in many public buildings such as city halls, libraries, fire stations, and public assistance offices. The form can also be downloaded from the website of the Georgia Secretary of State. The form is postage-paid for return to the Secretary of State or can be returned to your county Board of Elections. When the registration form is processed, you will receive a precinct card showing the location of your polling place.

You must register to vote at least thirty days prior to any election in which you want to vote. This means that to vote in the 2010 primary election on July 20, you must register by June 21. If you do not register for the primary and wish to vote in the general election on November 2, the deadline is October 4. Once you are registered to vote, you remain registered as long as you keep voting.

It is also important to note that you must bring a valid photo identification card when you vote. A Georgia driver’s license is the most commonly used form of identification. If you do not have a Georgia driver’s license (even if expired) or one of the other valid forms of ID, then the state will provide a free voter ID card. To obtain this free voter ID card, contact your county registrar or the office of the Secretary of State.

Remember that voting is not only a right; it is a civic duty. In exercising your right to vote, it is also your duty to become educated about the issues at stake.

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