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2003 Election Dates and Voter Registration Deadlines


Voter Registration Deadline

Election Date

Special Elections February 18, 2003 March 18, 2003
Special Elections May 19, 2003 June 17, 2003
Special Elections August 18, 2003 September 16, 2003
Municipal General/Special Elections October 6, 2003 November 4, 2003

2004 Election Dates and Voter Registration Deadlines


Voter Registration Deadline

Election Date

Presidential Preference Primary/Special Election February 2, 2004 March 2, 2004
General Primary/Nonpartisan Election/Special Election June 21, 2004 July 20, 2004
Primary Runoff/Nonpartisan Runoff/Special Runoff June 21, 2004 August 10, 2004
Special Election August 23, 2004 September 21, 2004
General - Nonpartisan Election/Special Election October 4, 2004 November 2, 2004
General - Nonpartisan Runoff October 4, 2004 November 23, 2004

Registering to Vote

Voter Qualifications

To register to vote in the state of Georgia, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you wish to vote
  • At least 18 years of age by election day

Also, you may not register to vote if you are currently:

  • Serving any sentence imposed by the conviction of a felony
  • Judicially determined to be mentally incompetent

In the state of Georgia, you do not have to register by political party to vote in the state's regular primaries or general elections.

You may register to vote at any time, but you must be registered by the close of registration prior to an election if you wish to vote on election day, i.e., the application must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline. If you are not registered to vote, register today.

Voter Registration

Georgia citizens have access to several convenient methods of registering to vote:

  • Download and complete a voter registration application.
  • Contact your local county board of registrars' office or election office, public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools and other government offices for a mail-in registration form.
  • E-mail your request for a voter registration form to http://us.f415.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=sosweb@SOS.State.Ga.US, or write us at Office of the Secretary of State, Elections Division, Suite 1104 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1505. Please include your name and mailing address.
  • "Motor Voter" registration is offered when you renew or apply for your driver's license at Department of Motor Vehicle Safety drivers license posts. 
  • College students can obtain Georgia voter registration forms, or the necessary forms to register in any state in the U.S., from their school registrar's office or from the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Change of Residence

Voters are required to notify the board of registrars of their county of residence whenever they move.

If you move within the same county in which you are registered to vote and don't notify the registrar at least 30 days prior to an election, you may vote in your old polling place for that election. You must file a notice of your new address. This can be done by writing your county board of registrars' office, or by submitting a new voter registration application.

If you move outside the county in which you are registered to vote within 30 days of an election, you may vote in your old precinct for that election. 

If you move outside the county in which you are registered to vote in excess of 30 days prior to an election, you have lost your eligibility to vote in the county of your old residence. You must register to vote in your new county of residence. If you don't register to vote by the deadline, you cannot vote in that particular election.

Voting Procedures

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How...

Who will get my vote?

Each fall, Georgians vote on a variety of different elected positions:

2003 - Selected Municipal Elections
2004 - President of the United States, 1 U.S. Senate seat (seat currently held by Zell Miller), 13 U.S. Representative seats, 1 Public Service Commission
          seat, Judicial offices, State Senators (all seats), State Representatives (all seats), All local two-year officials
2005 -
Selected Municipal Elections
2006 - 13 U.S. Representative seats, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner
          of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor

You may reference the official candidate qualifying database to see who is running for each elected office. Please access our poll locator to determine your respective congressional and legislative districts.

What is a registrars, primary, poll, etc.?

Please reference the Georgia Election Code for details regarding the electoral process in our state.

When do I vote?

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on each election day. However, any voter who is waiting to vote at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Where do I vote?

Each voter must vote at the polling place designated for the precinct in which the voter lives - the location of your polling place is located on your precinct card. If you have misplaced your card or do not know where your precinct is located, please use our poll locator.

Why should I vote?

Your vote is your voice in the governance of your city, county, state and country. As a citizen, you declare your rights and privileges with your vote. Contrary to popular belief, one vote - your vote - does makes a difference.

How do I vote?

When you arrive at your polling place, you will complete a voter's certificate which asks for your name and residence address. You will then present the certificate and proper identification to the poll officials who will verify that you are a registered voter in that precinct by checking the voters list for that precinct. If your name is found on the list, you will be issued a a voter access card and admitted into a voting booth to cast your vote. You will then cast your ballot using an electronic voting unit. After you cast your ballot the machine will automatically eject the voter access card and you will return the card to a poll official. Instructions on how to operate the electronic voting unit are posted at each polling place and you may ask a poll official for assistance. You may also reference http://www.georgiacounts.com/ for additional information.  


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions...

Are sample ballots available prior to the election?

Yes. Sample ballots are available through your county or municipal registrar's office. Voters are authorized to carry a sample ballot or list of selected candidates with them to the polls to aid them in voting their ballot. You may not share the sample ballot or candidate list with other voters at the polls, but you may use it for your benefit.

When is the best time to go to the polls to avoid having to wait in long lines?

Peak voting hours appear to be from 7 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 pm, and during the mid-day lunch hour.

Is my employer required to grant me time off to vote?

Yes. Georgia law requires employers to grant their workers up to two hours to vote on the day of an election. However, the employer is authorized to specify the hours which an employee may use. This provision does not apply to employees whose hours of work begin at least two hours after the polls open or end at least two hours before the polls close. There is no obligation for an employer to pay the employee for the time taken to vote.

Am I required to show identification when I vote?

Voters are required to present identification at their polling place prior to casting their ballot. Proper identification shall consist of any one of the following:

(1) a valid Georgia driver's license;

(2) a valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification;

(3) a valid United States passport;

(4) a valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state;

(5) a valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any employer of the elector in the ordinary course of such employer's business;

(6) a valid student identification card containing a photograph of the elector from any public or private college, university, or postgraduate technical or professional school located within the state of Georgia;

(7) a valid Georgia license to carry a pistol or revolver;

(8) a valid pilot's license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or other authorized agency of the United States;

(9) a valid United States military identification card;

(10) a certified copy of the elector's birth certificate;

(11) a valid social security card;

(12) certified naturalization documentation;

(13) or a certified copy of court records showing adoption, name, or sex change.

Note: The precinct card you receive to confirm your voter registration and voting location is not a form of identification and is not sufficient identification to vote.

What happens if I don't have any identification with me at the polling place?

If an elector is unable to produce any of the required identification, the elector shall sign a statement under oath in a form approved by the Secretary of State, separate and distinct from the elector's voter certificate, swearing or affirming that he or she is the person identified on the elector's voter certificate. Such person shall be allowed to vote without undue delay. Falsely swearing or affirming such statement under oath is punishable as a felony.

May I receive assistance in casting my ballot?

A voter may receive assistance at the polls if they are unable to read the English language or if he or she has a physical disability that renders them unable to see or mark the ballot, operate the voting equipment, or enter the voting booth. In order to do so, everyone, except those that are blind, must take an oath showing the reason they need assistance. The person providing the assistance to the voter must sign on the oath. When there is a federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can select anyone they want to assist them in voting, except for the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. When there is no federal candidate on the ballot, the voter can select any other resident of the precinct or a parent, sibling, spouse or child to assist them inside the voting booth. No person may assist more than ten voters in a primary, election, or runoff.

Note: Between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the day of an election, voters who are 75 years of age or older or who are physically disabled may, upon request to a poll officer, vote immediately without waiting in line.

May I take my child to the polls with me?

Children under the age of 18 may accompany a parent into the voting booth. However, they may not be disruptive or interfere with the voting process, vote the ballot or operate any function of a vote recorder or voting machine.

Can I wear a campaign button into the polling place?

No person may campaign; distribute literature of written or printed matter of any kind; wear campaign buttons, signs, pins, stickers, T-shirts, etc.; circulate petitions; or perform similar activities within 150 feet of the building in which a polling place is located.

Absentee Voting

You may vote by absentee ballot if:

  • You will be absent from your precinct from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on election day.
  • You are 75 years of age or older.
  • You have a physical disability which prevents you from voting in person or you are a constant caregiver of a person with a disability.
  • You are an election official.
  • You are observing a religious holiday which prevents you from voting in person.
  • You are required to remain on duty in your precinct for the protection of life, health, or safety of the public.

How do I apply for an absentee ballot?

You may request an absentee ballot as early as 180 days before an election. Absentee ballots must be signed and received by the county board of registrars' office on or before election day - no absentee ballots are issued on election day. You may download an absentee ballot application and mail it or fax it to your county board of registrars' office. The application must be in writing and must contain the address to which the ballot is to be mailed, the reason for voting by absentee ballot, sufficient information to identify you as a voter, and the election in which you wish to vote. If you are physically disabled or living temporarily outside your county of residence, a close relative may apply for an absentee ballot for you. 

May I receive assistance with my absentee ballot?

A physically disabled or illiterate voter may receive assistance from another voter in the same county or municipality or from the same category of relatives who can make an application for or deliver an absentee ballot. If the voter is outside of the county or municipality, then a notary public can provide such assistance. Any person who assists another person to vote absentee must complete an oath prescribed by law demonstrating the statutory disability and that the ballot was completed as the voter desired. No person may assist more than ten voters in a primary, election, or runoff.


You may contact the Legislative Redistricting Office and reference http://www.sos.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/external.asp?link=www.georgia2000.org/redistricting/ and http://www.sos.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/external.asp?link=www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/gacdmap.htm for information concerning new legislative districts.

For more information contact:

Cathy Cox
Secretary of State
Elections Division
1104 West Tower
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, Ga. 30334
(404) 656-2871
1-800-551-8029 (TDD for the hearing or speech impaired)


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