If you want to vote in the presidential election on Nov. 3 and are not registered to vote, the deadline to register is next Monday, Oct. 5.
“That’s it. There’s no extensions,” said Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones. “To participate in picking the next president, you must be registered by October 5th. And the process to get registered is very easy.”
Jones said going to the state website — www.mvp.sos.ga.gov — is the simplest and fastest way to register to vote.
“I encourage everyone to get familiar with the Secretary of State voting website,” Jones said. “You can register to vote. You can check to see if you actually are registered. You can request an absentee ballot. You can review a sample ballot.”
However, people can come to the county elections office to register in person, if they want. Located in the County Annex at 113 N. Main St., the office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday–Friday.
Jones said residents who do register now through Oct. 5 will be eligible to participate in early voting that begins on Oct. 12 and to request an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election.
In-person early voting will begin in Bulloch County and across Georgia on Oct. 12. The county elections office on North Main Street will be open for voting 8 a.m.–5 p.m. every weekday through Oct. 30 and on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The Honey Bowen Building will be open for early voting on Saturday, Oct. 24, and also 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 26–30. And voting at Georgia Southern University is set for Tuesday–Thursday, Oct. 20–22, in the Russell Union on campus. Jones said that both the Honey Bowen and Georgia Southern voting plans are pending any COVID-19 restrictions.
In the June 9 primary, more than 7,200 Bulloch voters voted by mail, and as of Monday, 6,442 residents have requested applications for an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 election. The Georgia Secretary of State office started mailing out actual ballots on Sept. 18, and Jones said the Bulloch Elections Office had received 677 ballots back from Bulloch voters as of Monday morning.
Voters who request an absentee ballot can still vote in person, if they decide not to use the absentee ballot. But Jones said voters should bring the unused absentee ballot with them when they vote in person.
“If you request a ballot by mail, it is your choice to vote and return it,” Jones said. “If you decide not to vote it and vote in person during early voting or Election Day, please bring your paper ballot with you. It will make your voting process faster since the poll workers will not need to call and confirm the ballot had not been returned.”
Also, Jones said approximately 25 Bulloch voters who have requested absentee ballots so far have signatures that don’t match their voter registration cards. The signatures must be updated by Oct. 5 for the ballots to be counted, she said.
“In most cases, it’s just the signatures have changed through the years,” Jones said. “We have sent letters, emailed and called the people with the signature issues and hopefully they’ll respond.”
Jones said voters who have not updated their signatures in many years or those who are concerned their signatures may be different should fill out a new voter registration card at the elections office, also by the Oct. 5 deadline.
The deadline to request a ballot is Oct. 30. However, officials in Georgia and across the nation urge voters to request a ballot as soon as possible. Ballots must be either returned to the Bulloch elections office by Election Day on Nov. 3, or postmarked by Nov. 3 and in the office by Nov. 6.
Jim Healy may be reached at (912) 489-9402.