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New Voting Dates

By Denise Dunbar

 

Get ready to change gears. Georgia’s primary election date has been moved from a summer date to a spring one. Mark your calendars; the Primary Election date for this year is May 20th.

 

The change was not something Georgia legislators wanted. Last year, a federal judge shook up the state’s election calendar when he ordered the changes. This was to make sure that absentee ballots can be sent out at least 45 days prior to any primary and general run-off elections.

 

2014 is the first year for the new schedule, but it’ll mostly affect the primary races, which is very important. Primary elections decide which candidates will represent a political party for the final November Election. With that said, here’s a chart with this year’s election events.

 

Election                          Voter Registration Deadline                        The Election Date

Special Election

To fill vacancies              Feb. 18, 2014                                                 March 18, 2014

 

Special Election

Runoffs                            Feb. 18, 2014                                                April 15, 2014

 

Primary

Election                           April 21, 2014                                               May 20, 2014

 

Primary

Runoffs                           April 21, 2014                                               July 22, 2014

 

General

Election                           October 6, 2014                                             November 4, 2014

 

State and Local

Runoffs                           October 6, 2014                                             December 2, 2014

 

Federal

Runoffs                           October 6, 2014                                             January 6, 2015

 

 

 

Where Do I Vote

By Denise Dunbar

 

 

Voting can be exciting!  But that feeling can quickly turn into frustration if you realize you’ve stood in a long line and waited hours just to find out, you’re in the wrong polling place. RULE- You can vote ONLY at your designated polling place.  Unfortunately, we’ve heard of cases where election officials changed polling places without much or no notice.

 

If for some reason you do end up at the wrong polling place and you don’t’ have time to get to your correct one, then ask for a provisional ballot. RULE- If you vote on a provisional ballot, your vote will only be counted if you go the your county elections office within 48 hours after voting and show your valid identification.

 

To make sure you’re headed to the right location, always check with the Secretary of state’s office.  You can check by clicking the link below.

 

http://mvp.sos.state.ga.us/

 

 

 

 

Advanced/Early Voting (4/28-5/16)

By Denise Dunbar

 

I love the idea of early voting! Get in, get out, and its done. Any registered voter can take advantage of the early voting process without giving a reason. The tricky part is finding the right place to cast your early ballot, because details can change. Dates can change too. If the demand is high, counties may add additional locations and dates as well as extended times to make it easier. The key is to check!

 

The early voting period for the upcoming primary is between April 28 and May 16th. Find out the exact times and locations for your county by clicking the link below.

 

http://sos.ga.gov/elections/CountyContacts/AdvanceVotingDisplay.aspx

 

 

 

 

Voter Registration Information

By Denise Dunbar

 

The deadline to register to vote for an election is always the fifth Monday before that election. For the upcoming primary, the last day is April 21, 2014.

 

To register in Georgia, you must meet the following requirements.

  1. Be a US citizen
  2. Be a resident in Georgia and in the county which you wish to vote
  3. Be at least 171/2 years of age. (Be 18 at the time you vote)
  4. Not currently serving any sentence imposed by conviction of a felony.

Voting rights will be restored after you finish the term of incarceration, parole and probation.

  1. Be of sound mind

 

 

 

Dealing with Problems At The Polls?

By Denise Dunbar

 

On Election Day, all polling locations must remain open from 7 am until 7 pm. If you are in line before the polls close at 7 pm, you must be allowed to vote. (Some places may decide to stay open longer.)

 

If the voting machines are not working, you should ask for a back-up paper ballot.

 

If you forget your Voter ID, you should ask for a provisional ballot. RULE- If you vote on a provisional ballot, your vote will only be counted if you go to your county elections office within 48 hours after voting and show your valid identification. To check on Provisional ballot status, voters may call 1-866- 677- 5328.

 

If you end up at the wrong polling place, you should be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot.

 

If they cannot find your name of the rolls, ask for a provisional ballot.

 

Remember, provisional ballots are a last resort, because they will only be counted if you take your Voter ID to the county election’s office and verify your voting status.

 

If you’ve moved, you have to notify your new county elections office or fill out a new registration form. If you don’t notify the new county of your new address, you can still vote in your old polling place.

 

If you need assistance reading the ballot, you may take a person of your choice into the voting booth.

RULE- In Georgia, a voter can choose anyone to serve as his or her assistant with the exception of the voter’s employer, agent of the employer, or a union representative.

 

If you’re physically disabled, each polling place should be accessible to disabled voters.

 

Voters older than 75 do not have to wait in line.  On Election Day, between the hours of 9:30 and 4:30, all voters 75 and up will be allowed to vote immediately.

 

If you have any trouble, contact the Legal Command Center for Election Protection at

1-866- OUR-VOTE

 

 

No Voter ID, No problem!

By Denise Dunbar

 

I get it. Having to show the correct Voter ID at the polls is a bit extra, but sometimes I think people overdramatize the Voter ID requirement. First of all, the state of Georgia offers a FREE Voter Identification Card. You can pick it up at any county registrar’s office or the Department of Driver Services Office. Just be sure to take documentation showing your date of birth, evidence that you are a registered voter, proof of your address and a photo-identity document.

 

If for some reason, you can’t make it the offices mentioned above, then write your county elections office and ask for an absentee ballot by mail. You won’t need to give a reason. And get this, if you vote by mail

using an absentee ballot, NO voter ID is required.

 

Chances are you probably have an photo ID that is acceptable at the polls. Here’s a list of what’s accepted.

  1. Any state or federal government issued photo ID, including the FREE Voter IDs.
  2. A current or expired Georgia Driver’s License
  3. Valid employee photo ID if you work for the US government, this state, any county, any municipal government entity, a board or authority.
  4. Valid US passport
  5. Valid US military photo ID
  6. Valid Tribal photo ID
  7. Student ID if issued by a public college or university in Georgia

 

 

Need Voting Info? There’s an app for that!

By Denise Dunbar

 

Technology is a beautiful thing.  The Secretary of state’s office has a voter app for mobile devices, and it has a lot of cool features. For instance, you can electronically submit your voter registration if you have a Georgia driver’s license. You can also find your polling location and get directions with maps.  You can  see sample ballots,  keep up with early voting locations, check the status of an absentee ballot  and more. It’s all just a swipe away.  Go to the Apple and Android app stores and search for “GA Votes”.

 

Check out the screenshots:

 

 

Candidate Info: Just Who Is Running For What?!!

By Denise Dunbar

 

This is not a Presidential Election year, but it is still a very important election year for Georgia.

We’ll vote in several critical races including Governor, a US Senator, Secretary of State, 14 Congressional District seats, all 56 State Senators and all 180 State Representatives. The winners of these local and state races are the guys who’ll decide issues that affect us immediately. They’ll decide how our schools are funded, job creation, Medicaid expansion, gun control, the Stand your Ground Law and other issues.

 

Do your homework. Find out who is running in each race by clicking the link below.

 

http://www.politics1.com/ga.htm

 

 

Voting Day Readiness

By Denise Dunbar

 

 

Success is when preparation meets opportunity, right? So let’s pull off a successful day at the polls by getting ready. Here’s the checklist.

 

First, bring the right Voter ID with you to the polls.  If you forget your voter ID, you can still vote, but you’ll be given a provisional ballot. If possible, try to go home and get an ID to cast a regular ballot. Provisional ballots have a catch. You’ll have 48 hours after the election to go to your county elections office and show your proper ID in order for your vote to count. To check on Provisional ballot status, voters may call 1-866- 677- 5328.

 

Second, wear appropriate clothing. Comfortable shoes are a must. And remember, no candidate shirts or any other propaganda will be allowed inside a polling location. RULE- 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 a polling place.

 

Third, be prepared for problems. If you’re a registered voter, you should be allowed to vote. If for some reason your name does not show up on the list of registered voters for that precinct, ask for a provisional ballot.

 

Take the Election Protection Hotline number with you. Put it in your contact list. That number is 1-866-OUR-VOTE. They’ll have counselors on standby. If available, an attorney will be sent to the precinct.

 

 

 

Got Questions?

By Denise Dunbar

 

If you have questions that apply to your unique situation, it’s a good idea to contact your county elections office to get your answers before Election Day. Below are contact numbers. If your county is not included, don’t forget you can Google it and get the number.

 

Secretary of State’s Elections Division 404-656-2871
Fulton County Elections 404-730-7020
DeKalb County Elections 404- 298-4020
Clayton County Elections 770-477-3372
Cobb County Elections 770-528-2581
Gwinnett County Elections 770-822-8787

 

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