Get in loser, we're going voting! How, when and where to vote in this election

THIS YEAR'S general election includes the highly anticipated presidential election, as well as two Georgia Senate races and Savannah’s district attorney and county commissioner races.

It’s an important time to make your voice heard. Are you ready to make a difference and cast your vote?

Registering to vote

The first step is to make sure you’re registered to vote. To register to vote in Georgia, you must be at least 17.5 years old, a US citizen, a Chatham County resident, and not be convicted of a felony or declared legally mentally incompetent.

The last day to register is Oct. 5, which is fast approaching. If you’re not sure of your registration status, you can check it at mvp.sos.ga.gov. That’s a really helpful website—you can also find your polling precinct and see your elected officials, among other things.

You’ll need a valid driver’s license or an ID card issued by the Department of Driver’s Services to complete the registration process, so keep it nearby. If you don’t have either of those things, you can manually fill out a paper registration.

Voting by mail

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a heightened interest in voting absentee to avoid crowds and stay healthy.

However, President Trump has attempted to cast doubt on the safety of voting by mail, calling it “fraudulent.”

Which is safer, voting in person or by mail? The truth is that both forms of voting are effective and safe. It’s mainly up to your own personal preference.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Sept. 30. It’s recommended that you mail it in before Oct. 16 for it to safely arrive and be counted. However, you can also drop off your ballot in the box at the Board of Registrars’ office on Eisenhower.

The League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia has purchased eight new ballot boxes to donate to the Board of Registrars, which will help make it easier for voters across the county to send in their ballots.

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the new BallotTrax system that will allow voters to track their absentee ballots and get email or text updates on the status of the ballots.

Early voting

There are three full weeks of early voting before Election Day, and anyone can vote early with no reason required. Early voting begins Oct. 12 and will be available at the following locations Monday through Friday:

Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

Oct. 12-30 9 a.m-4 p.m.

Oct. 24 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Oct. 25 noon-5 p.m.

Islands Library, 50 Johnny Mercer Blvd.

Oct. 12-30 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Main office, 1117 Eisenhower Dr., Ste. E

Oct. 12-30 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Oct. 17 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Oct. 18 noon-5 p.m.

Oct. 24 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Oct. 25 noon-5 p.m.

Mosquito Control, 65 Billy B. Hair Dr.

Oct. 12-30 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pooler Recreation Park Gymnasium, 900 S. Rogers St. in Pooler

Oct. 12-30 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Southwest Library, 14097 Abercorn St.

Oct.12-30 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Election Day

This year, the big day is on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you’re still in line at 7 p.m., don’t leave—you can still cast your vote. Because this is a big election, expect long lines.

The only thing you actually need to provide at the polls is a valid photo ID. This will probably be your Georgia driver’s license, which will be accepted even if it’s expired.

Also acceptable are: any valid state or federal government issued ID; an employee photo ID from a state or federal government agency, branch, department or entity; a US passport ID; a US military photo ID; or a tribal photo ID. Students of a public college or university in Georgia can also bring their student photo ID.

If you don’t have one of these IDs but are still eligible to vote, go to the Department of Driver Services (there’s one on Eisenhower) to request a free ID card.

To receive that, you need to bring: a 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; and documentation showing the applicant’s name and residential address.

As long as you’re registered, the voting process should be fairly easy, but you may run into some issues.

If you’re told that you’re not on the voter roll, first confirm that you’re registered to vote and that you’re at the right polling place. Confirm that the poll worker is spelling your name correctly. If they’re still not finding you, ask to cast a provisional ballot.

Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, if you’re eligible to vote in your district, you can ask for a provisional ballot if you don’t have your ID with you.

Then, you’ll have three days to provide proper documentation to your county registrar’s office.

If you do need to cast a provisional ballot, ask for written instructions about what you need to do.

At the polls, if you experience intimidation, harassment, false information about voting requirements, or people impersonating poll workers or election officials, call the Election Protection hotline at 866-687-8683.

For Chatham County, you can also call the Chatham County Board of Elections at 912-201-4375, or submit a complaint online at elections.chathamcounty.org.

cs

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