“In 2012, I worked with legislative leaders to craft a law that would allow for online voter registration,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a press release. “We did this because Georgians deserve to be able to register to vote or change their information with as much ease as possible. This will not only provide benefits to the voter, but also for all 159 Georgia counties.”
Locally, Bartow County Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk believed the online registration system will help his office keep the number of voters up, but he did not predict a large increase in registered voters.
“I think people usually register to vote when they want to register to vote and keep themselves active that way. This will hopefully reach the younger generation. I know they’ve asked me about it before when I’ve talked to high school students. You know, is there a way to do this mobile?” he said.
In addition to the existing “My Voter Page” on the secretary of state’s website and the newly launched online registration system, the state has implemented a mobile application for Android and Apple smartphones with the same features of the website. The app, “GA Votes,” is available in both app stores.
To register completely online, Kirk explained, residents will need a Georgia driver’s license. If residents do not have a Georgia driver’s license, they will have to print out a form and mail it to the Bartow County Board of Elections. Any registrations submitted online will show up in the local election office the next day, Kirk added.
An additional benefit of the online registration system could be straightening out questions about which district a resident votes in.
“I hope so. Usually it’s taken care of when they get their driver’s license. It usually updates that address, but I’m hoping with this press release going out and it being in the news that there’s a voter registration deadline right around the corner, and this’ll help people get their addresses straight before that,” Kirk said. “But the Georgia law does allow you to vote one more time outside your district. So if you show up and say I’ve moved or put an address that doesn’t match what we have on our lists, you can still vote one last time in that district and then we’ll make you change your address while you’re there.”
Processing the online applications will not affect the local office’s operations or its budget. Much of the cost, Kirk said, has been absorbed by the state and processing the online registration requests is similar to a current system with the Department of Driver Services.
“We just got some initial training for it last week. As far as we’ll handle it internally, it’s very similar to how we process the applications from the Department of Driver Services. In fact, it looks almost identical to that process, so we’re ready for it,” he said.
To access the online registration site, visit mvp.sos.state.ga.us.