There are around 23,000 young people in Georgia who turn 18 in the weeks between the November General Election and the January 5 runoff. With only a week left before the December 7 voter registration deadline for the runoff, these high school seniors, left out of the process on November 3, now have a chance to shape who controls the Senate — if they register by December 7 and vote!
With preregistration not permitted until age 17 ½, Georgia is one of fourteen states with the most restrictive age-based voter registration laws. However, schools in Georgia have a legal obligation to help their students register to vote, but this is not acted upon by many institutions and many staff members aren’t aware on their legal obligations.
Georgia Code Title 21. Elections § 21-2-215 states:
(g) Each principal or assistant principal of every public or private high school, the president of every public or private college or university, the president of each state supported technical institute in this state, and the designee of such principal, assistant principal, college or university president, or state supported technical institute president shall be a deputy registrar of the county in which the school, college, university, or institute is located for the purpose of receiving voter registration applications from those qualified applicants who are enrolled students within the principal’s school or the president’s college, university, or institute or who are employed by the private high school, the school system, the college or university, or the state supported technical institute, notwithstanding the fact that such students or employees are not residents of the county in which the school, college, university, or institute is located. Such principals, assistant principals, presidents, and their designees shall inform their students and employees of the availability of such voter registration and shall provide reasonable and convenient procedures to enable such persons who are qualified applicants to register.
The code is clear, schools must provide “reasonable” and “convenient procedures” for these young people to register.
“It’s compulsory, it’s mandatory,” said attorney and parent of Grady alumni Anne McGlamry. “It’s a shall, it’s not a maybe do it if you feel like it.”
Georgia’s voter registration form asks for a Georgia driver’s license, ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The state’s online registration form requires either a Georgia driver’s license or ID number, which is another bar to registration for these young people, given that the Department of Driver Services has been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Click HERE to register to vote online.