Georgians Embrace Early Voting; Here’s What You Need to Know
On the second day of Early Voting, Georgia voters are continuing their record midterm turnout levels. However, Early Voting differs from Election Day and Absentee-by-Mail in a number of ways. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
In-Person Absentee Ballot Request Forms
Under Georgia law, Early Voting is considered “Absentee In-Person” voting because by casting a ballot before Election Day, they are making themselves absent on Election Day. See OCGA 21-2-385. When a voter shows up to vote for Early Voting aka “Absentee In-Person” voting, they will fill out an “Application for In-Person Absentee Ballot.” This is the same form that has been used for Early Voting in previous elections. For this election, Fulton County is having voters fill out the form manually instead of pre-populating it from the voter registration system, which is leading to increased questions about the title of the form. Filling out an “Application for In-Person Absentee Ballot” when a voter goes to early vote is the normal process. It results in that voter being granted access to go vote early; it does not result in that voter receiving an absentee by mail ballot.
Early Voting Locations
During Early Voting, voters may vote at any Early Voting location within their county. These locations are often different than the precincts assigned to them on Election Day. Voters have the flexibility to choose any location during the Early Voting period, but those dates and hours often differ from location to location. Voters should check both My Voter Page or their county election office website to confirm those details prior to casting a ballot.
Wait times have been short statewide, but some metro area Early Voting locations will have longer lines on higher turnout days such as the first day of Early Voting and the last few days of Early Voting. Most metro counties offer more than one early voting location and wait times are often shorter at other locations in the county. Gwinnett, Cobb, Richmond, Forsyth counties are among the ones reporting their wait times in real time so that voters can choose the location with the shortest wait.
In making their selections on a Ballot Marking Device, voters may notice that Republican candidates are listed first regardless of incumbency. Per Georgia law since at least the 1960’s, the candidate listed first in each race is the candidate of the same political party as the candidate who received the most votes in the previous Gubernatorial election, which in this case, is the Republican candidate.