Young adults ages 18–29 represent our country’s largest generation, yet they vote at the lowest rate. What stands in the way? Often a lack of clear information. And it can be confusing! Emory is committed to smoothing your path to the polls so you can express your voice through your vote. Please read on to learn how to …

  • Sign up for TurboVote. This online platform helps you register and vote, including by mail. Sign up! It also helps you request absentee ballots and sends useful reminders.

  • Register to vote. TurboVote guides you step by step. Students living at school may register in either Georgia or their home state. If you are out of state and need to register now, register in your hometown. If you registered at Emory before and are currently away, you can still vote absentee in Georgia. If you have moved to an off-campus Georgia address since registering, reregister there.

  • Make a plan! Get #voteready. You have three options: vote by mail (absentee), vote early in person, or vote in person on Election Day. We recommend the first two. If voting absentee, request your absentee ballot now to leave time for back-and-forths in the mail.

Path to the Polls


First, up front: If you’re voting by mail (absentee), do not wait until the deadlines. Aim to register or update your information by mid-September, submit your absentee ballot request by the end of the month, and return that mail-in ballot by mid-October. If you’re voting in person, do that early, too. Election Day is a last resort.

That said, here’s how to find the official pins in your calendar. Most vary by state.

Voter registration deadlines

  • In Georgia, the last day to register is Monday, October 5. Allow time for processing after that before requesting an absentee ballot.

  • Look up your state’s deadline here. They range from a month before an election to same-day, on-the-spot registration.

Absentee (mail-in) ballot deadlines

  • Look up the last day to request and return an absentee ballot, and know your state’s rules. Note whether the ballot must be postmarked or received by Election Day.

  • A federal judge in Georgia recently ruled ballots postmarked by November 3 should still count if received by three days after. The secretary of state’s office intends to challenge this ruling.

  • If your county has drop boxes and you can get to one, spare your ballot a final trip through the mail.

Early in-person voting

  • Availability, days, and locations vary. Check your local listings, or look them up here.

  • Georgia early voting runs October 12–30. Precise dates depend on county.

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020

  • The big day. Vote sooner if you can.

Georgia special elections and runoffs. Additional voting dates, all Tuesdays:

  • September 29: Special election in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District—which includes Emory’s Atlanta campus—to replace Rep. John Lewis for the rest of the term ending January 3. Requires its own absentee ballot request.

  • December 1: Runoff election for local and state races

  • January 5: Runoff for one of Georgia’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

To drum up enthusiasm and get #voteready, the Emory Votes Initiative will celebrate these along the way:

TurboVote Signup FAQ 

What is TurboVote?

TurboVote is an online tool that makes voting easier. Sign up and let it walk you through registering to vote and voting in every election step by step. Emory has contracted with TurboVote’s parent organization, the nonpartisan nonprofit Democracy Works, to make this service available to you. While it’s especially helpful to students and others wishing to vote by mail, anyone can benefit from its reminders and help.

How do I sign up for TurboVote?

  • Go to emory.turbovote.org. Click through the interface and enter your personal information and preferences for guidance to register, set up reminders, and opt for help voting by mail. TurboVote will mail you any necessary forms.

  • Tutorial: See EVI’s TurboVote signup video.

  • Indicate you are interested in voting by mail (absentee). That way, a month or more before each election, TurboVote will offer to mail an absentee ballot request form and stamped envelope straight to your indicated mailing address. You can still always vote in person if you prefer.

  • We recommend saying you want both text and email reminders. There are only a few per election cycle; they won’t spam you. Make sure the initial email response from TurboVote does not end up in your Junk folder.

Important!

  • Sign up for TurboVote even if you are already registered to vote. TurboVote can still remind you of dates, deadlines, and polling places and can mail you any paper forms needed to vote absentee or update your registration.

  • If you signed up for TurboVote previously, sign up again if your address or preferences have changed. Maybe you initially planned to vote in person and now want the option of voting by mail. Maybe TurboVote mailings wouldn’t reach you at the mailing address you gave then. Maybe you want to register to vote in a different state now. You can’t update, so start fresh. Just sign up again.

  • You may unsubscribe from the outdated TurboVote signup by replying to one of those texts or emails. Just be careful not to cancel the wrong one.

What does TurboVote provide?

  • Help registering to vote in any state, if needed

  • Reminders about dates, deadlines, and status checks

  • Prompts to request your absentee ballot, if desired, and the means to do so, including mailing forms and stamped envelopes to your indicated address

  • Details about voting hours and locations

  • A help desk staffed by live human beings. Click HELP in the upper right of Emory’s TurboVote portal to submit a question and someone will get back to you.

What doesn’t TurboVote do?

  • It does not register you to vote. It guides you to do so yourself.

  • It does not send you an absentee ballot, as that will come directly from local elections officials. It does help you request your ballot, including mailing you forms to send in—as long as you expressed interest in by-mail voting when you signed up.

  • It does not share personal information with any other services or campaigns.

Voter Registration FAQ

In which state do I register and vote?

When you sign up for TurboVote you’ll indicate your state of choice:

  • Students in residence at Emory this semester: You may legally register to vote at either at your campus/Georgia address or your hometown/permanent address. Your choice of state, but pick just one.

  • Students currently studying remotely: If you are not physically in Georgia, you cannot register to vote at an Emory/Georgia address for now. Register in your hometown/home state.

At what address do I register?

  • Emory College: Students in residence who wish to vote in Georgia, do not give your residence hall address. Instead, use this: 1762 Clifton Rd NE, MSC ######, Atlanta, GA 30322 (replacing “######” with the MSC number from your OPUS account). The county is DeKalb.

  • Oxford College: On-campus students registering in Georgia, your registration address and mailing address will be slightly different: see details here. The county is Newton.

  • Off-campus students, either locally or out of state: Use your street address.

How and when do I register?

  • How: TurboVote will walk you through the registration process. Depending on the state and what ID it requires, TurboVote will either

    • point you to an online registration site, quick and easy, or

    • mail you a paper voter registration form with a stamped envelope. The TurboVote mailing, in a bright blue envelope, includes a registration form prefilled with most of your information and a prestamped envelope addressed to your election authority; you’ll only need to fill in your ID, sign at the bottom, and send it off. Print clearly.

    • If you can’t wait for TurboVote’s mailing to arrive, you can download and print a state’s form on your own, fill it in, sign, and mail it to your election authority, adding your own stamp.

    • The name you enter when registering to vote should exactly match that on your government-issued identification. This is necessary in many states that require such ID to vote.

  • When: Ideally by mid-September, though official deadlines are later.

    • Allow up to three weeks for some states to process a nonelectronic registration and get you on the rolls.

    • If you’re planning to vote by mail, allow another several weeks after your registration goes through to request, receive, and return your absentee ballot before your state’s deadline.

    • The official registration and ballot request deadlines may cut it too close to vote by mail in the November election. Act now.

How do I register in Georgia?

  • It depends on your ID. If you have a Georgia driver’s license or Georgia voter ID, the state has your signature on file and you can register completely online.

  • If you don’t have a Georgia license, TurboVote will send you a paper voter registration application or show you where you can download and print it.

    • o Fill it out the application completely, including your full legal name, your county (e.g., DeKalb, Fulton, Newton), and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Print clearly.

    • o Be sure to date and sign. This is the signature to which elections officials will compare your future signatures, for example on absentee ballots.

    • o Mail your registration to your county’s elections office or to the Georgia Secretary of State, Elections Division, 2 MLK Jr. Drive, Suite 802 Floyd West Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334.

  • Georgia voter registration information: georgia.gov and Secretary of State.

Need a stamp or envelope for a mailing of your own?

In some states, ballots are already postage paid. If you’re delivering your ballot directly to a drop box or building in a state that doesn’t require a postmark, you won’t need a stamp either. Otherwise, you will need to stick one or two first-class, 55 cent stamps (depending on weight) from the U.S. Postal Service to the upper right of the address on the envelope. Where to get them?

  • You can buy stamps at an on-campus Mail Center,

    • Clifton campus: Few Hall, 4 Eagle Row, lower level

    • Clairmont campus: SAAC, 1946 Starvine Way

    • Oxford campus: Whatcoat Street Building,

  • or at any U.S. Post Office (e.g. in Atlanta: on Briarcliff Road at Sage Hill, North Highland Ave. in Virginia-Highland, Ponce de Leon in Decatur),

Boxes of envelopes can be found in any pharmacy or supermarket, near the notebooks. Post offices often sell them, too. If you’re at home, check your parents’ supplies first.

What next?

Follow up with your state elections officials to verify that you made it onto the voter rolls, your status is active, and you’re #voteready! Try here, here, or for Georgia, here.

What if I registered in Georgia last year or the year before?

As long as you did register in Georgia when you were here, you should still be on the voter rolls and can request an absentee ballot no matter where you are now. On the request form, you will specify the address to which you want the ballot sent: wherever you are this semester. Sign up for TurboVote (again) and print your request form there or have TurboVote mail it to you. If you have since moved to an off-campus address within Georgia, TurboVote can help you update your registration to vote at your new address.

What if I have more questions about registering?

For TurboVote’s Help Desk, click on “HELP” at emory.turbovote.org. Someone will get back to you within a day. Or seek answers in the Voter Resources on this page.

Double-check! Always make sure you’re still an active, registered voter and your information is current. Sign up with  TurboVote to check your status. (Or select your state and see right away. For Georgia, go straight to My Voter Page.)

  • If you signed up for TurboVote before but will be receiving mail elsewhere this election cycle, sign up again with your current mailing address so their mailings reach you.

  • If you didn’t initially indicate a preference for voting by mail but want that option now, sign up with TurboVote again to say so.

  • If you’re marked “inactive” in Georgia, you can still vote for now! (Voting in person will reset your status to “active”; voting absentee will not. See AJC story.)

If you registered before and…

  • If you previously registered at a Georgia address and are now elsewhere, your registration remains valid. You can vote absentee in Georgia.

    • Sign up for TurboVote with your current mailing address so any absentee ballot request form they send will reach youOn that request form, you will tell your elections officials where to mail your actual ballot.

    • Fill out Emory’s mail forwarding form on OPUS , through the pop-up or the “mail forwarding address” tab on your profile tile. You should also temporarily forward your first-class USPS mail. But don’t count on receiving mail on time via forwarding. Ballots may not be forwarded.

    • You also have the option of changing your registration to vote in your current location instead, as people do when they officially move. To do so, sign up for TurboVote and follow its prompts.

  • If you previously registered to vote elsewhere, are now in residence in Georgia, and wish to vote in Georgia instead, you can reregister here. Just sign up for TurboVote and follow its prompts.

  • If you previously registered to vote on campus and now live off campus nearby, we recommend updating your Georgia voter registration (reregistering) to vote at your current street address and whatever districts it’s in. Just sign up for TurboVote and follow its prompts. Otherwise, for now you can still vote absentee at your campus address.

  • Directly, the Georgia secretary of state’s My Voter Page is here.

More ifs and whens

  • Whenever you request an absentee/by-mail ballot, you will indicate your current (temporary) mailing address on that request form. That’s where they’ll send the ballot.

  • If campus shuts down mid-semester and you have to leave town too late for a new TurboVote signup, you might request an absentee ballot directly from your local elections authority, indicating where they should send it. (Only request one ballot total, though. Don’t do it through TurboVote and on your own.) If the ballot is already en route to your school address when you leave, it may be a problem. If you’re registered in the home state to which you’re returning, see about canceling the absentee ballot and voting in person there, preferably early. Otherwise, TurboVote advises: “For any questions about the status of a by-mail ballot already requested, students should contact their local election official.” 

  • If you move away for real, for example after graduating, it’s time to register to vote at your new address or in your new state and then vote only there. Throughout life, whenever you move or change your name, update your voter registration to remain an active citizen and vote in every election, from dogcatcher to president! 

Once you’re registered, it’s time to make a plan and get #voteready. How will you vote this time? You have three options:

  1. Vote by mail 
  2. Vote early in person
  3. Vote in person on Election Day

Vote whichever way is safest, securest, and most convenient for you. EVI recommends the first two, as early as possible. Please read on.

Voting absentee (by mail) is a must for students living away from states where they’re registered. (Being a student is a valid “excuse” in states that require one for an absentee ballot. See your state’s rules.) During this pandemic, voting from your room is also the safest choice healthwise. As a bonus, it takes less time than voting in person and frees you up on Election Day. Despite some glitches hand-marked paper ballots are considered secure and mail fraud is rare. Depending on where you are, you may even be able to return your ballot directly to a local drop box or office and avoid the final leg in the mail. Just don’t wait. This process does take a few extra steps, so get started as soon as you can. USPS and elections officials will be overtaxed with first-time by-mail voters and other stressors on the system. Know the deadlines for your state, request and return your vote-by-mail ballot early, and allow for delays.

Here’s what to do.

  1. In states that require one, get an absentee ballot request form (application).

    • If you told TurboVote you were interested in voting by mail, they can mail you a request form with a stamped envelope (starting around September 21, depending on state) or point you to print it out yourself (can be quicker but you may need to provide your own stamp and envelope to mail it).

    • Georgia voters: The state will not send everyone absentee ballot request forms this fall. Some counties or entities may send out forms on their own. Those are fine to use when legitimate. Voters with a Georgia driver’s license or voter ID can request ballots online through the state’s new absentee ballot request site. Ballots start going out in mid-September.

  2. Fill out and return the ballot request form. Indicate your current mailing address. Print, sign, add postage if needed, and mail it to your elections officials, or scan it and submit it electronically if allowed. Track your request online.

  3. Receive the absentee ballot itself mailed by your local elections officials (or their vendor printer). Research the candidates and issues. Look up a sample ballot. See our Voter Resources below.

  4. Fill out your ballot. Follow instructions carefully to vote your choices. Sign and date anywhere required, including on the envelope. Provide a copy of ID if required. (ID info.)

  5. Add any necessary postage.

    • TurboVote can’t help you with this step, so for states that require added postage you will need to acquire a stamp or two, depending on weight. You can buy first-class (55 cent) stamps at Emory’s on-campus mail centers, any USPS post office, or usps.com. Stick them on the front, address side of the envelope in the upper right.

    • Should you also need an envelope, you can find those in any pharmacy or supermarket near the notebooks.

    • If you’re at home, check parental supplies first.

  6. Return the ballot to your local elections officials to arrive by your state’s deadline, ideally much sooner. Allow for extra-slow snail mail, potentially two weeks each way.

    • In some states, ballots must be received, not just postmarked, by Election Day.

    • If you are living where you are registered to vote, you may have the option to return your ballot to a drop box or approved office instead of sending it through the mail.

    • Know your state’s rules. (In Georgia, a federal judge recently ruled ballots postmarked by November 3 should still count if received by three days after. This may be challenged. As for Georgia drop boxes, only deliver your own ballot or that of a disabled household or family member. Don’t collect others’.)

  7. Optional: Take a selfie as you pop that ballot in the mailbox or drop box, share that you voted, and tag some friends and @emoryvotes!

  8. Track your ballot through your state’s site. Make sure it has been received and accepted.

  9. Trouble casting your ballot? Call the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition at 866-OUR-VOTE.

  10. All voted! #emoryvotes 

Voting in Person – Early or on Election Day

If you are registered to vote near where you’re currently living, you may wish or need to vote in person. You generally have two options:

  • Early voting, where available. Find early voting dates and select locations for your area. Dates vary, and you’ll probably vote further from your neighborhood than on Election Day. (In Georgia, the early voting period for the November election runs October 12–30. Check details for your county here.)
  • Voting on Election Day, November 3. The big day, the longest lines. TurboVote will tip you off to find your assigned polling place (precinct), or check your voter card or state resources (for Georgia that’s My Voter Page). Poll workers there will guide you through the stations to cast your ballot. Even if you think you know where it is, check again at the last minute. Locations can change if sites are understaffed, etc.

If you do vote in person, whenever it is, take precautions and allow plenty of time. Double-check your registration status and polling place for any last-minute changes, pack your best mask, any required ID, comfortable clothes and shoes, and possible snacks or water, and head out to participate safely and patiently in our democracy’s most sacred ritual of civic engagement.

Congratulations! You have voted! Take a selfie after you leave the polling place (not inside!) and tag @emoryvotes.

If you run into trouble casting your ballot, contact Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE.

As for how quickly we’ll see results this November, set your expectations to patient. With Americans voting by mail en masse for the first time, definitive results may not emerge for days after the polls close even if everything goes smoothly. Know it will take time.

 

Casting a ballot isn’t the only way to support a vibrant democracy. Consider becoming a poll worker, helping others vote, or joining a student organization.

Poll Workers Needed

A lot of longtime, older poll workers are sitting this year out, so bright, young, fresh folks are urgently needed to fill the shortage setting up machines, checking voters in, etc., in Georgia and across the land. The training and long day of service will even net you a little cash.

Working the polls can only be done in person, of course. EVI cannot suggest what risks are worth your taking. Please consider whether this is a safe choice for you and those who live with you, and keep in mind any university policies about off-campus activities.

In all states: Power the Polls directs you to poll worker information for any location. You can also find your state’s official poll worker information through the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

In Georgia: You must be a citizen, age 16 and up, and apply in your county of residence. Other details vary by county. You can sign up directly with your county (e.g., DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett), start at the state’s recruitment site, or go through an organization. EVI suggests two organizations in particular.

  • The ACLU of Georgia recommends signing up with both them and your county. It is working with counties statewide to recruit and assign poll workers, and it can sometimes group teammates together to “adopt” a polling place. Put “Emory Votes Initiative” as your organization.

  • New this year is the Georgia Youth Poll Work Project, created by recent GSU grad Evan Malbrough, with its Push for 5k initiative to recruit 5,000 student poll workers in the metro Atlanta area, as mentioned in the New York Times. @ga_youth_pollworkers

This deck by Renard Sexton, Emory assistant professor of political science, fleshes out the local need for poll workers and the process of becoming one.

working-the-polls.png

Other Voting-Related Opportunities

Got time on Election Day or before? Help others vote. With face-to-face voter registration and canvasing on campus off the table, read on for other election-related volunteering ideas.

  • Get trained to answer the Election Protection coalition’s nonpartisan voter hotline at 866ourvote and head off problems at the polls. Political parties may also run their own voter helplines.

  • Be a poll watcher or monitor (not to be confused with a poll worker) through Election Protection’s Protect the Vote or other nonpartisan or partisan efforts. Training required.

  • Get out the vote in the larger community by phoning, texting, or writing postcards from home. There are many partisan and nonpartisan efforts out there. Some focus on particular communities, e.g., in Atlanta, the Center for Pan-Asian Community Services (CPACS) or the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO). GoVoteGA is a good starting point.

  • Within the Emory community, share this Emory Votes Initiative website. Encourage others to sign up for TurboVote and register to vote, the sooner the better, or change or update their information. Help others figure out how to get and return absentee ballots.

  • More possibilities:

    • Vote Riders helps people navigate voter ID requirements. Spread the Vote also helps folks who need ID get it.

    • “Warm the line” on Election Day. Volunteer with a local organization or on your own to safely bring food, water, or even chairs or umbrellas to those waiting in line to vote.

    • On your evening walk at the end of Election Day, snap and upload pictures of your precinct’s publicly posted poll tapes. Protect Our Votes is organizing this Photo Finish effort in states including Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Connecticut.

Student Organizations

Civic engagement starts with taking part in your immediate community. Consider joining a student organization such as, for example:

Emory College

  • APIDAA (Asian, Pacific Islander and Desir American Activists)
  • Black Student Association
  • College Republicans
  • Hillel
  • Latino Student Organization
  • NAACP Emory
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honor society)
  • Students for Justice in Palestine
  • Young Americans for Freedom
  • Young Democrats

Oxford College

  • Oxford College Republicans
  • OxFirst - first generation/low-income student group
  • OxMUN
  • OxPride
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Race- and ethnicity-based organizations: OLE (Organización de la Lengua Española), Black Student Alliance, African Caribbean Students Union, Asian Culture Club, Indian Cultural Exchange, Hindu Student Association, Chinese Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Korean American Student Association 
  • Turning Point USA
  • Young Democrats

TurboVote

  • Sign up for help registering and voting at the free online platform TurboVote. Emory’s portal: emory.turbovote.org. Tutorial here. If you signed up before, do it again if your mailing address has changed or if you now want to vote by mail and didn’t say so before. (You can unsubscribe from a previous signup; just make sure it’s right one!)

State-by-state voting info

  • TurboVote’s parent organization, Democracy Works, offers a convenient How to Vote page with state-by-state links. Select your state in the drop-down menu to find its election website, check your voter registration status, look up local election officials, or request a vote-by-mail (absentee) ballot.

  • Vote.org helps you look up your eligibility to vote in any state with these Voter Registration Rules and see its Absentee Ballot Rules and Early Voting Calendar.

  • The National Association of Secretaries of State directs you to official information about registering, voting, poll working, etc., in any state.

  • The Campus Votes Project offers State Student Voting Guides.

Georgia-specific voting info

  • All Georgia voters: Bookmark My Voter Page from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Division. At My Voter Page you can log in with your name, birthdate, and county to register to vote, check your status, download forms, request and track absentee ballots, find election dates, consult a sample ballot, look up your polling place, get county contact info, learn your districts and representatives, generate your voter (precinct) card including number, etc.

  • Less officially, a group of Georgia volunteers assemble and update the Georgia Voter Guide, “a comprehensive nonpartisan guide to voting in the Peach State.”

  • 866ourvote.org lists Georgia deadlines and more. 

Volunteering as a poll worker

Who and what you’ll be voting on

  • Look up your sample ballot anywhere with Ballotpedia. In Georgia, see your sample ballot after logging in to My Voter Page.

  • Wherever you’re registered to vote, learn who’s running and where they stand with the League of Women Voters’ personalizable Voters’ Guide, vote411.org.

  • As elections approach, local organizations and news outlets in your area may provide more detailed information about candidates and issues. Some may release lists of endorsements.

Trouble voting

  • If you run into problems casting your vote, either on Election Day or year-round, call the Election Protection voter helpline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866ourvote.org). It’s a national, nonpartisan coalition run by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.