The Union Recorder

April 16, 2014

Voter registration is approaching, voice your opinion


The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Georgia voter registration deadline is fast approaching. Georgia citizens have until Monday to register in time to cast ballots in the upcoming May 20 primary election.

Baldwin County has experienced a poor voter turnout record on recent Election Days. Less than a quarter of Milledgeville’s eligible voters cast ballots in last fall’s city election. Of Baldwin County’s more than 21,000 registered voters in 2012, just 30 percent cast ballots in the July primary races.

Many Baldwin County citizens squandered opportunities in these races, allowing others to decide for them. By not showing up on Election Day, they also let civic duty slip through their grasp.

Casting a ballot on Election Day not only allows citizens to exercise their voice in government, it also allows them to fulfill the hopes and ambitions of those who came before us who fought for this very opportunity for many of us. Registered voters are our jurors in our court system and they decide who has a seat at the table of local government. 

Why would anyone squander the opportunity to claim a stake and have a say by staying at home?

The first step is getting registered, the rest comes later.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 20, and now it’s easier than ever to vote in Georgia. A new app through the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office brings voter information right to our smartphones. Baldwin County citizens should take advantage of this technology if it’s available to them. Visit www.sos.ga.gov or search “GA votes” in the app store from your Android or Apple mobile device.

Once you’ve registered the new polling app is also designed to provide polling information on Election Day, where to vote, sample ballots and lists of candidates. Prospective voters can also use the app to locate early voting precincts. They can also check the status of their provisional ballots and update registration information if their address has changed since they last voted.

And there’s still the old fashioned way to register, too. To register in Georgia, an individual must be a citizen of the United States, be a legal resident of the county, be at least 17 1/2 years of age, among other requirements.

You can download and complete a voter registration application from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, www.sos/ga.gov, and mail it in. Or, you can visit the county board of registrar’s office located in the Baldwin County Courthouse, Department of Motor Vehicle Safety office, or the local library to register. College students can also get applications from their campus registrar’s office.

Remember that registering is an important first step but it is far from the last. Becoming knowledgeable of the issues and concerns facing this community, then getting to the polls are equally vital next steps.

Those who are already registered and plan to vote can contribute by getting others involved. Talk to neighbors and friends, if they aren’t already registered, remind them of the deadline and encourage them to make an effort to get to the polls. We must remember that an inactive and uninformed voting public will not get the job done. Active and engaged citizens can.

Don’t let a handful of local voters tip the scales one way or another in any election from this point forward.