What you need to know to vote on June 9 in metro Atlanta

The pandemic has created a lot of new questions on election day. We answer several of them below.

Everything you need to know election day Atlanta
Earn your peach.

Photograph by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Georgia’s June 9 primary is unprecedented for many reasons: it was pushed back not once but twice due to the spread of COVID-19, thousands more Georgians will be voting by mail for the first time, and the pandemic completely uprooted the concept of campaigning. To make sure you’re prepared to vote in person today, here’s a quick guide to what you need to know on this election day.

When can I vote?
Polls open at 7 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you have the right to cast your vote, so do not leave the line until you’ve voted.

Where do I go to vote?
Your normal polling place might not be open right now thanks to the pandemic—GPB reports that more than 10 percent of polling places—particularly in churches and senior centers—have been moved due to the pandemic. Some polling places—such as Park Tavern in Midtown—now have to host several thousand more voters than a polling place normally would. You should visit the state’s My Voter Page to see where your designated polling place is located—and you must vote at this location.

Remember that in order to vote in Georgia you must be registered (there is no onsite registration) and must provide on of the following:

  • a valid state or federal government-issued ID
  • a Georgia driver’s license (it’s okay if it’s expired)
  • a valid employee photo ID from a federal or state government branch, department or agency, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of the state
  • a valid U.S. passport
  • a valid U.S. military photo ID
  • a valid tribal photo ID
  • a Georgia voter ID card

How will the pandemic impact the voting process?
There will likely be lengthy lines at many polling places, as poll workers are limiting the amount of people who can enter a polling place and the number of voting machines inside in order to maintain social distancing. Also keep in mind that Georgia has a new voting machine system this year, so poll workers are still adjusting to operating this system. (As of 7 a.m., there were several machine issues reported in Atlanta.) Voters will also be spaced six-feet apart in lines, so keep in mind lines may appear longer than they are. Bring a book, make sure your phone is fully charged, and wear comfortable shoes. There is also rain in today’s forecast, so bring an umbrella.

Remember: as long as you are in line by 7 p.m. and stay in line, you are entitled to cast a vote and cannot be turned away.

I voted by mail. How can I check the status of my ballot?
Visit the state’s My Voter Page; it should note whether or not your absentee ballot has been accepted.

Can I still mail my absentee ballot?
In order to be counted, you ballot must arrive at the county election office by 7 p.m. on June 9. (This means the date it was postmarked doesn’t matter; if it’s not at the elections office at 7 p.m., it will not be counted.) At this point, it is best to put it in an official election drop box in your county. These boxes, which are clearly labeled, are secured and located only on government property. You have until 7 p.m. to put an absentee ballot in a drop box, and you can find the drop box locations here: Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton.

What happens if I never received my absentee ballot?
If you applied for an absentee ballot but never received it in the mail, you can still cast a ballot in person. You need to tell the poll worker that you had applied for an absentee ballot, then you will have to sign an affidavit saying that you applied for the absentee ballot and swearing that you have not voted via that absentee ballot.

I voted early in March’s presidential primary. Can I still vote?
Yes—the June 9 election contains several races and questions that were not on the ballot during the presidential primary election. This is because it also includes the state primary originally scheduled for May 19. Voters who cast a ballot early for the March 24 election will still be able to vote in the state primary races; they just will not have the option to vote for a presidential candidate.

Is this election only for the presidential primary?
No, this election incorporates both the postponed presidential primary from March 24 and the postponed state primary from May 19. There are several races on the ballot, including U.S. senate, state house, judges, district attorneys, sheriffs, school board, and more. So even if the presidential primary feels moot at this point, remember there are many other races on the ballot.

Where can I learn more about the candidates?
A sample ballot is available on the state’s My Voter Page, so you can see which races will appear on your ballot. Most candidates have an official website (just Google their name) that will list their stances on various issues. The AJC has rounded up an extensive library of its coverage of the individual races here. A few notable guides: U.S. Senate, U.S. Senate and state House, school board elections, Georgia Supreme Court, Fulton DA, DeKalb Sheriff, Cobb Sheriff.

The Atlanta Press Club held virtual debates for U.S. Senate and several Congressional districts, as well as Public Service Commission District 4. You can watch all of the debates here.

Reporter Newspapers also has questionnaires with several candidates in Fulton County and in DeKalb County.

When will the results be tabulated?
Expect a long wait for results, possibly a few days, due to the high number of absentee ballots cast.