Absentee voting became popular in Georgia in 2020 during the pandemic. Any registered Georgia voter can still choose to vote this way. You request an absentee ballot well in advance and either mail it back to be received by Election Day or return it to a county ballot drop box earlier. No lines to stand in, and along with voting early in person it can free you up on Election Day.

How to vote is your choice. Just plan ahead. The process takes a few extra steps. Request and return your ballot as early as possible, and allow for delays in the mail.

Below we outline what you need to know. The state’s pages about absentee voting are here and here

First, request your ballot. We recommend allowing at least three weeks before Election Day.

If you have Georgia ID (driver’s license or state ID), use that number to request your ballot fully online at the state’s Absentee Ballot Request Portal.

If you do not have Georgia ID, you’ll need to submit a ballot request form and ID to your county registrar.

  • Download an absentee ballot application (request form). (If you previously signed up for TurboVote, they can mail send you a paper request form and a stamped envelope in which to submit it. Downloading might be faster.)

  • Fill it out and sign. Spell your name exactly as it appears on My Voter Page.

  • Enclose ID: New in 2021, if you don’t have Georgia state ID, you must submit a copy of another acceptable form of ID with your ballot request form. This new procedure replaces identifying voters by signature. ID Note: Out-of-state drivers’ licenses are not accepted for applying for ballots. If you don’t have any approved documentation, plan to vote in person instead.

  • Return the request form and ID to your county elections office.

Once you have submitted the request, follow its status in the lower left of My Voter Page. Track that it has been received and accepted, your ballot has been sent out, and you receive it in the mail.

Next, vote! Research the candidates and issues, fill out the ballot carefully following all instructions (bubble in ovals completely, don’t use checkmarks), and sign it—including on the outer envelope where indicated!

Now return your ballot. Two choices:

  • You can mail it back in the provided envelopes, adding two first-class stamps, ideally at least two weeks before Election Day.

  • Or drop your ballot off in person in an official, secure drop box.

    • Drop off only your own ballot (or those of immediate relatives or household) and only in the county where you’re registered.

    • Look up your county’s drop box locations at its elections website (DeKalb, NewtonFulton, Cobb, Gwinnett).

    • Note: Per new state legislation (the Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known as State Bill 202), Atlanta-area counties will have fewer drop boxes apiece than in 2020. These boxes will be available only indoors, at county elections offices or other early voting polling places, and only during early voting hours. They will thus be available only until the Friday before Election Day.

Finally, track your ballot’s progress in the lower left of My Voter Page. Make sure it is received and accepted on time.

Any trouble? Call the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition at 866-OUR-VOTE.