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Voter registration deadline for Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5; ballot measures explained

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Voter registration deadline for Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5; ballot measures explained

Sharon Saliba took part in a ‘Get out the Vote’ rally hosted by the Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice at the ArtLot in Avondale Estates on September 19, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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Dectur, GA — The deadline to register for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5.

To register online, click here. If you register by mail, you must have the letter postmarked by Oct. 5.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, in order to be registered to vote you must:

– Be a citizen of the United States

– Be a legal resident of your county

– Be at least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote

– Not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude

– Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge

– Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the many people are requesting absentee ballots. Absentee ballots can be placed in special dropboxes or sent through the mail. Voters requesting absentee ballots are being strongly encouraged to use the dropboxes due to reported problems with delivering and processing mail.  

According to Howto.vote, absentee ballots must be requested by Oct. 30 and postmarked by Nov. 3. They must be received in person by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

Absentee ballots can be obtained in the following ways:

– Securevotega.com

“The Georgia absentee ballot portal will allow you to quickly request an absentee ballot and receive confirmation that your request is being processed,” the Securevotega.com website says. “Your secure ballot will be verified and fulfilled by your county elections office. No excuse absentee was established under then-Governor Sonny Perdue, and voted in support by the now Speaker of the House David Ralston. While we thank those two visionaries for expanding access to voting, Secretary Brad Raffensperger has placed additional security measures to ensure the integrity of the vote.”

To obtain your absentee ballot using this service, click here.

– There are other ways to request an absentee ballot this year, aside from using the service provided by the Secretary of State.

To obtain your absentee ballot application, click here. Absentee Ballot Applications can be emailed to absenteeballot@dekalbcountyga.gov. If you need another way to contact the Dekalb County Chief Registrar to give them your ballot application, visit this page and select “Dekalb” from the drop-down menu.

Important tips for requesting and filling out absentee ballots:

– If you are mailing or emailing an absentee ballot application, the signature on your absentee ballot application must match the one the county has on file for you or your application will be rejected. So use your actual signature, not the generic signature option provided via the PDF reader software you might be using.

– It is important to read all of the instructions prior to filling out and submitting your absentee ballot. Read them carefully.

– Ballots should be filled out using a black or blue ink pin. DO NOT use a pencil or a sharpie. Also, fill out the ovals completely. Do not make check marks or use Xs. 

Susan Motter, a Decatur resident, offered several more useful tips for voters filling out absentee ballots this year:

Just dropped off my ballot at a drop box! Some tips for voting by absentee mail ballot:1. Read the instructions…

Posted by Susan Motter on Sunday, September 27, 2020

Your absentee ballot will arrive in the mail and will include a sealed envelope for you to mail it or drop it off. Once you get it filled out, you can drop it off in the sealed envelope at one of the county’s dropbox locations. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at one of 16 locations listed. To see the locations, click here.

– For people who aren’t going to use absentee ballots but want to skip the lines, early voting begins Oct. 12. A complete list of early voting locations has not yet been posted online. Three new locations include former Sam’s Club building, 2994 Turner Hill Road, Stonecrest; Rebecca Hall at Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur; and former Hawks’ player Paul Millsap’s facility CORE 4 Atlanta, 2050 Will Ross Court, Chamblee. Early voting is always available at the Voter Registration and Elections Office, located at 4380 Memorial Drive, suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032. Decaturish will publish a complete list of early voting locations when it becomes available.

 – There will be two proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot this year, one statewide referendum and special election in DeKalb County on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

The special election in DeKalb County concerns reforming the appointment process of the DeKalb County Ethics Board.

The DeKalb Citizens Advisory Council, which has followed this issue closely, is encouraging residents to vote “YES” on this question. For a detailed list of reasons why they are recommending people vote yes, click here.

The first constitutional amendment on the ballot, “Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law.” 

Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan voter information service, provides some additional information about what this means.

“The amendment would authorize the Georgia State Legislature to pass legislation establishing special funds with dedicated revenue sources to fund statute specific projects. Statutes that impose such taxes and fees must reference this amendment and identify the government agency responsible for administering the revenue in its text,” Ballotpedia says. “Currently, there are funds established by statute or the constitution that have prescribed means of revenue to support their dedicated purposes. Money not appropriated by the legislature for special fund purposes may be put into the general fund for other purposes. In 2015, the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts found that $2.8 million of the revenue from the Solid Waste Trust Fund had not been appropriated for purposes directed by the fund.”

For more information about this constitutional amendment, click here.

The second constitutional amendment, “Waives state and local sovereign immunity for violation of state laws, state and federal constitutions.”

According to Ballotpedia, “This measure would waive the state’s sovereign immunity, thereby allowing residents to seek declaratory relief through the superior courts from state or local laws that are found to violate the U.S. Constitution, state Constitution, or state law. Under the amendment, a court could not award damages, attorney’s fees, or other costs of litigation unless authorized by the state legislature. After granting declaratory judgment, a court would be able to enjoin (block) the law or act in question. If approved, the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity would be applicable to acts occurring on or after January 1, 2021.”

For more information on this constitutional amendment, click here.

The statewide referendum on the ballot, “Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities.” 

According to Ballotpedia, “This measure would exempt from property taxes property owned by a 501(c)(3) public charity (such as Habitat for Humanity) if the property is owned exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes and the charity provides interest-free financing to the individual(s) purchasing the home.”

For more information about this referendum, click here.

Please vote in the Nov. 3 elections.

 

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