HOW TO VOTE IN THE GEORGIA US SENATE RUNOFF ELECTION - JANUARY 5, 2021
Elections were held for both of Georgia’s US Senate seats on the November 3, 2020. Both of these races are going to Runoff elections, to be held on January 5, 2021, as no candidate received at least 50% of the vote.
The two races are:
- US Senate: Jon Ossoff (Democrat) versus David Perdue (Republican)
- US Senate Special: Raphael Warnock (Democrat) versus Kelly Loeffler (Republican)
Or drop by for live one-to-one voter assistance via Zoom. For more information for dates and times, please click the link: Global Voter Assistance (Live via Zoom).
And if you’re interested in helping other Georgia voters participate in the Runoff election, check out VotefromAbroad’s Georgia Runoff Voting Champion Toolkit
IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES:
Nov 21, 2020 – Official Runoff ballots start to go out
Nov 30, 2020 – Recommended last day to send in ballot by postal mail; Recommend use of courier if mailing back ballot in December
Dec 7, 2020 – Deadline to register to vote, if needed [By Email, Fax, or Mail]
Jan 5, 2021 – Deadline to request a ballot, if needed [By Email, Fax, or Mail]
Jan 5, 2021 – Deadline for ballot to be postmarked [Return By Mail only] - and -
Jan 8, 2021 – Deadline for ballot to be received in GA (and also any signature fix documentation to be received)
REGISTRATION AND BALLOT REQUEST: -- Click to expand
Check your Absentee Ballot Status on: www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do (After you submit your information, go to “Click here for Absentee Ballot status” in lower left box):
If the website indicates your absentee ballot request has been received for the Jan 5th Runoff election: If you see the Jan 5th election on this screen, you are set to receive your ballot. You do not need to send in a new form to request your ballot for the Jan 5th Runoff election. Please go to “BALLOT” below
If you are a registered voter in GA but the website doesn’t indicate that your absentee ballot request has been received for the Jan 5th Runoff election: If you don’t see the Jan 5th election on this screen, you will need to submit a ballot request form for an overseas ballot by Jan 5, 2021. To start your ballot request now Click Here After you send in your ballot request form, please go to “BALLOT” below.
If you aren’t registered to vote and will be 18 years old by January 5th: You can vote in the Runoff election if you submit your voter registration form by Dec 7th. To start your voter registration & ballot request now Click Here After you send in your voter registration & ballot request form, please go to “BALLOT” below.
BALLOT: -- Click to expand
Ballots for the January 5, 2021 Runoff election are now available (check your spam folder for the notice).
You can also go to www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do to see if your ballot is available.
To check for your ballot, go to “Click here for Uocava ballot” in the upper left box.
Please follow the directions carefully and mail back your ballots as quickly as possible. For more information, please see the section below for “Ballot Return” and "Returning Ballot by Courier."
WHEN TO USE A BACKUP BALLOT: If you haven’t received your ballot yet, we strongly recommend overseas voters fill out and mail in a Backup Ballot (the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or FWAB). The Backup Ballot is specifically for overseas voters to protect your vote in case you don’t receive your ballot in time to get it in by the deadline.
To fill out and submit a Backup Ballot:
- Go to this website and follow the prompts to Fill Out A Backup Ballot (FWAB)
- When you fill out the Backup Ballot, you MUST list the 2 different US Senate races separately:
- For the Ossoff / Perdue race, type in either the candidate’s name or the political party in the blank space next to “U.S. Senator”
- For the Warnock / Loeffler Special Senate election, you’ll need to type in the name of the race as “US Senate Special Runoff”. Then, type in either the candidate’s name or the political party in the column on the same line. (It will show up under “Non-federal office,” but the Georgia Secy of State’s office has assured us that is acceptable and not a problem.)
BALLOT RETURN: -- Click to expand
The instructions will indicate how to prepare your ballot for mailing and will provide the mailing address for your election office in Georgia.
You can mail in your ballot by regular mail, courier, US military mail, or US diplomatic pouch. You can download a US postage-paid template, but it will only work in US Mail; that is, US military mail or a US diplomatic pouch.
Note: All US citizens abroad may use US military mail to return ballots. For more details, see: www.stripes.com/news/all-americans-abroad-can-use-military-post-offices-to-mail-ballots
If you received your official ballot by electronic delivery, you may return it using either a blank envelope with your own postage, or the postage paid envelope template available at: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/military_and_overseas_voting2 (See below):
PLEASE NOTE: When filling out the envelope to return your ballot,
- You should indicate under your return address: “Ballot Enclosed for 01/21 Runoff Election”
- If you are not using US Mail (that is, you are not returning your ballot using US Military Mail, a US diplomatic pouch, or the US Postal service in the US), be sure to provide full postage for mailing to the US from your country. And make sure you completely cover the “postage paid” template. Otherwise, it may confuse the postal service and delay delivery of your ballot.
- If you don’t see the mailing address for your county, you can find it at: https://elections.sos.ga.gov/Elections/uocavaContact.do
- Be sure to include USA in the mailing address!
BALLOT RETURN INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BACKUP BALLOT: If you are using a Backup Ballot, the same basic instructions apply, but two (2) envelopes are required:
- a “Ballot Security Envelope” – to hold your completed Backup Ballot, and
- a “Mailing Envelope” – to send in your sealed Ballot Security Envelope as well as the Voter Information Sheet and the Instructions to Election Officials
When the Mailing Envelope reaches the Election Office, they will separate the Ballot Security Envelope from the supporting materials to maintain ballot secrecy.
If you wish, you can follow the instructions to download envelope templates to affix to blank envelopes. OR, you can write or type the information on regular envelopes.
Follow the instructions to print out the Backup Ballot and supporting materials and place them in the envelopes, as follows.
Backup ballot ONLY in the “security envelope” and Sealed:
Sealed security envelope and remaining materials placed in “mailing envelope”:
RETURNING BALLOT BY COURIER (INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS MAIL SERVICE): -- Click to expand
Given the time deadlines and the fact that the Christmas season will further exacerbate the mailing disruptions caused by COVID, we recommend that you use a courier service to return your ballot if possible. And we strongly recommend voters use a courier service for any ballots mailed back in December.
Georgia will accept overseas ballots via courier, that is, international express mail service providers, such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx.
You will need to place your SEALED MAILING ENVELOPE in the courier envelope.
More than one ballot may be placed in the courier envelope if they are all going to the same Election Office. If more than one ballot mailing envelope is enclosed in the courier envelope, each must be separately sealed. (You can think of the courier envelope as acting like a mailbox.)
Most couriers do not deliver to a P.O. Box. You can find the street address for your election office at: elections.sos.ga.gov/Elections/uocavaContact.do
Georgia will accept overseas ballots that arrive up to 3 days after Election Day if the ballot is sent by Election Day. We strongly recommend that you mail your ballot early enough that it will arrive in Georgia by Election Day to avoid a possible reason for your ballot to be rejected.
If, however, your ballot may arrive in the 3 day period after Election Day, you must make sure the courier indicates on the package the date they received it from you. It doesn’t have to be an official ‘postmark,’ but something that shows your election office that you placed your ballot with the courier by Election Day.
It’s a good idea to request tracking to confirm your ballot whereabouts and that it arrived in time. But we recommend that you don’t send the courier envelope “signature required.” Many Election Offices are not prepared to sign for packages and your ballot may be delayed or even sent back.
Some couriers may provide a discount for returning ballots. Be sure to ask!
VERIFY YOUR BALLOT WAS ACCEPTED--AND FIX IF NEEDED: -- Click to expand
After you mail in your ballot, be sure to verify it was accepted. If your ballot is rejected for signature issues, GA will let you fix it but the deadline to do so is Jan 8, 2021.
- Check your ballot status at: https://georgia.ballottrax.net/voter -OR- www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do (After you submit your information, go to “Click here for Absentee Ballot status” in lower left box)
- If there is a problem, email or call your county immediately. You can find contact information at: www.votefromabroad.org/states/ga
- To fix a signature issue, you will need to send in a photo ID (US passport or military ID is ok) and a Signature Cure affidavit confirming the ballot is yours. You can send in your photo ID and affidavit by email or fax.