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ACLU Empowers Voters in Georgia Runoff

Bryan Fisher,
Washington Legislative Office
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November 19, 2008

This election isn’t over — at least not in Georgia. That state is holding a runoff election on December 2 to decide who will represent the peach state in the U.S. Senate for the next six years. Two other statewide offices are also on the ballot.

The runoff is necessary because of a Georgia state law that requires the winning candidate in certain elections to win more than 50 percent of the votes cast. When no candidate wins a majority in the general election, the top two finishers face each other in a runoff.

That’s exactly what happened on November 4, when Republican incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss garnered 49.8 percent of the vote to Democratic challenger Jim Martin’s 46.8 percent and Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley’s 3.4 percent. As a result, Chambliss and Martin face off on December 2 in a race that has attracted significant national attention.

The ACLU will be there, as it was on November 4, to educate and empower voters. We have just released an updated version of our Georgia voter empowerment card with important details about the runoff. You can download the card here (PDF) and print it at your home or office. We’ll also be staffing our voter protection hotline (1-877-523-2792) to assist voters as needed on December 2.

Here’s what every Georgia voter needs to know about the runoff:

  • The runoff will be held on Tuesday, December 2.
  • Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • You can vote in the runoff if you registered to vote by Monday, October 6.
  • You can vote in the runoff even if you didn’t vote in the general election on November 4.

There will be early and absentee voting in the runoff. As in all elections in Georgia, there are three ways to vote early:

  1. VOTE BY MAIL – You don’t need an excuse to cast an absentee ballot by mail. All you have to do is fill out an application and return it to your county board of registrar’s office. (Download an application here.) You can submit your application in person, by fax, or by mail, and you can look up the contact information for your election officials here. (I suggest faxing it in no later than Friday, November 21.) You can submit your application beginning now, and the deadline for submitting an application is November 26. Mail-in ballots must be received by your county registrar by the close of business on December 2.
  2. EARLY VOTING – Early voting is just like absentee voting in person. The early voting period begins no sooner than Monday, Nov. 17 and no later than Wednesday, Nov. 19. The last day for early voting will be Friday, Nov. 21 Most counties have only one early voting location, and it’s usually at the county registrar’s office. You should contact your county election officials for the hours and location of the early voting site in your county.
  3. ADVANCE VOTING – Advance voting is more like voting at the polls. The advance voting period runs from Monday, Nov. 24 though Wednesday, Nov. 26. Some counties have several advance voting sites, and you can vote at any one of them in your county. Click here to find the dates, location, and hours of advance voting sites in your county.

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