Voter Resource Guide 2020

Georgia Special Election

On January 5th, Georgia will hold a runoff election in which two of the state’s U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot. A win by one or both of the Republican incumbents would keep the Senate under the control of Republicans, while two Democratic wins would create an even 50-50 split, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to cast any necessary tie-breaking votes.

Below are information and resources on how to take part in the run-off election.


Georgia law requires a candidate to receive at least 50 percent of the total votes in order to win an election. If no candidate reaches the 50 percent threshold, a runoff election is held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes. 

Who is on the ballot in Georgia?

Both of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot this year due to incumbent Senator Loeffler being appointed to her seat by Gov. Kemp when previous Senator Isakson retired before his term ended. The runoff election ballot also includes a statewide race for a seat on Georgia’s Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates and ensures access to utilities like gas, electricity, and phone lines.

Senate Race A

Senate Race B

Public Service Commissioner Candidates

What are the important dates to remember?

More details about each date are below.

Nov. 18: Officials began mailing absentee ballots to those who request them.

Dec. 7: Last day to register to vote.

Dec. 14: Early in-person voting begins.

Jan. 5: Election Day. Polls are open and drop boxes are available until 7 p.m.

When is the runoff election? Can I vote early?

The runoff will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. However, early in-person voting begins on December 14. Check out the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page to find your local early voting location. 

Will I be able to vote at the same place I did in the General Election?

The polling locations for some counties will change for the January runoff election. To find yours, check Georgia’s My Voter Page or your county elections office before heading to the polls.

How do I vote in person on January 5th?

You must vote at your assigned precinct polling location as listed on Georgia’s My Voter Page. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Who is eligible to vote in the runoff election?

Any Georgia resident who will be 18 by January 5, 2021 and who registered to vote by December 7, 2020, may vote in the runoff. You can check your voter registration and make changes to your current registration using Georgia’s online voter registration system. Even if you didn’t vote in the general election, you can still vote in the runoff as long as you are registered to vote and will be at least 18 years old by election day.

What do I need to vote?

In Georgia, you must show identification (ID) to vote in person. 

Acceptable forms of ID include:

(IDs must be valid, or non-expired, with the exception of the Georgia driver’s license, which may be used even if it has expired.) 

  • A Georgia’s driver’s license, even if it has expired.
  • Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including the free voter photo ID cards issued by your county registrar’s office and the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). 
  • A valid driver’s license or photo ID issued from a different state. 
  • A valid U.S. passport.
  • A valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of the state. 
  • A valid U.S. military photo ID.
  • A valid tribal photo ID.

What if I do not have one of the acceptable forms of ID?

Georgia offers a free voter photo ID card through your county registrar’s office or the state’s Department of Driver Services (DDS).

To obtain a free voter photo ID card from your county registrar’s office, you must provide: 

  • A photo identity document or approved non-photo identity document that includes your full legal name and date of birth.
  • Documentation showing your date of birth.
  • Evidence that you are a registered voter, such as a voter registration card.
  • Documentation showing your name and residential address.

To obtain a free voter photo ID card from DDS, you must provide: 

  • An original or certified document such as a birth certificate or passport.
  • Your Social Security card.
  • Two documents showing your residential address, such as a bank statement or utility bill. 
  • If you’ve had a name change, then you’ll also need to bring a document to prove that, such as a marriage license.
  • A signed affidavit.
  • Evidence that you are a registered voter, such as a voter registration card.

What if I can’t or don’t want to vote in person, can I request an absentee ballot?

Although absentee ballots are not mailed automatically in Georgia, you can request one by heading to  the Secretary of State’s website, or get one from your local registrar’s office by clicking this link and finding your county

Can I return my absentee ballot to a dropbox?

Yes. Dropboxes will be available just as they were in the November election. Ballots are due by 7 p.m. on Jan. 5. 

How can I check the status of my ballot?

Visit Georgia’s My Voter Page for the status of your returned ballot. If your absentee ballot is rejected you can fix the ballot so that it is counted by following this guide

If you live in the Fifth Congressional District and voted absentee in the separate runoff election on Dec. 1, you will need to request a separate ballot of the congressional runoff. 

What are some challenges to voting in Georgia?

Long Lines, Long Wait Times

In Atlanta, voters in the summer of 2020 waited more than three hours at some polling places as social distancing measures decreased the number of voting machines and people inside a polling place at one time. If you are voting in-person in Georgia, arrive early to account for long wait times.

Voting Machine Malfunctions and Sudden Poll Closures

Election officials in Cobb County, the third-largest county in Georgia, plan to open fewer than half of the early voting locations that were in place for the general election, reducing the number to five from 11.

Some of the locations being closed, such as the Smyrna Community Center in Smyrna, are in majority Black communities. Voting rights and civil rights groups recently sent a letter to the county elections director requesting that all 11 sites remain open.

For additional voting challenges you may encounter in Georgia, please visit this guide to common problems voters encounter at the polls and what to do about them.