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What you need to know about Georgia’s new voting laws
Posted: April 12, 2022
Story Link: https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/web/gwinnett/home/stories/viewstory/-/story/GeorgiaNewVotingLaws
On March 25, 2021, Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 202 into law, which resulted in changes to Georgia’s elections laws. Gwinnett voters will experience the new changes for the first time during the General Primary, Nonpartisan, and Special Elections held on May 24.
Here is a breakdown of what’s new for Gwinnett voters:
Prior to new voting laws, voters who went to the wrong polling location were able to cast a provisional ballot and vote for any local races they were eligible for.
The new law requires that any out-of-precinct provisional ballots be counted only if it is cast after 5:00pm. The voter must sign a provisional ballot affidavit in order to vote in that voting location. Voters who go to the wrong polling location before 5:00pm will be directed to their right precinct.
Voters can request an absentee ballot application as early as 78 days before and as late as 11 days before Election Day. Previously, voters were allowed to request absentee ballot applications 180 days before Election Day and until the last Friday before the election.
Voters 65 and older, military and overseas residents, and those with disabilities can apply for an absentee ballot and receive one automatically during the election cycle.
Election officials are not allowed to mail absentee ballot applications to voters unless they request one.
The absentee ballot will be printed on special security paper, and it will include the precinct name along with the precinct ID, both will be printed at the top. After a voter fills out the ballot, they’ll place it in a secrecy envelope and then inside a return envelope that is provided in the ballot packet. The return envelope will require their signature, name, date of birth, driver's license or state ID number or last four digits of their Social Security number. This sensitive information will be hidden once the envelope is sealed.
May 13 is the last day to submit an absentee ballot application for the May 24 primary elections.
Here is a list of people for whom you can legally return an Absentee By Mail ballot:
- Mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law. (No, this person is NOT REQUIRED to live in the same household with the voter).
- Another individual residing in the same household as the voter. (Yes, this person IS REQUIRED to live in the same household as the voter).
- The caretaker of a voter with disabilities (No, the caretaker is NOT REQUIRED to live in the same household with the voter).
- Anything outside of these relationships is illegal.
If someone needs assistance with returning their absentee ballot from a person who doesn’t meet one of the above criteria, the voter should ask someone for a ride so they can return their ballots themselves
Voter ID requirements:
Voters must use the updated absentee ballot application which includes a voter identification section where a voter must provide a date of birth and a Georgia driver’s license or identification number or if they don’t have one of those, they can provide a copy of an acceptable voter ID.
Drop boxes are now part of the state election law. In November 2020, counties were allowed to have drop boxes available to voters and were required to be under 24 hours and seven days a week video surveillance and located outside of government buildings.
The new law requires counties to have at least one drop box and can have one additional drop box per 100,000 registered voters. Drop boxes can only be placed inside advance voting locations and accessible during voting hours only.
Advance voting begins Monday, May 2 through Friday, May 20, from 7:00am to 7:00pm. Remember, only designated early voting locations will have access to a drop box and to find one near you, please visit GwinnettElections.com.
Visit the Secretary of State website’s My Voter page to find and check:
- New voting districts
- Voter registration status
- Absentee ballot application and ballot status
- Polling location
- Advance voting locations
- Sample ballots
To stay up-to-date with elections in Gwinnett visit GwinnettElections.com or follow @GwinnettGov on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.