What to Know at The Polls

There’s a lot of information out there. Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared to make your vote count.

Cheri Mitchell is a member of the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) Team at the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO). Here are some of the most common issues she sees voters with disabilities have on election day, as well as how to navigate them.

November 3, 2020WHERE DO I GO TO VOTE?
Voters can find their polling place online at the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS)’s website: mvp.sos.ga.gov. The SOS also has a smartphone app available.

By law, all polling places should be accessible. The Secretary of State will be providing “readers” to those who need them for the paper ballot printed at the end of a voter’s session. If you would like to familiarize yourself ahead of time with Georgia’s new voting machine, watch Georgia Public Broadcasting’s video here.

GAO's Voter Protection Hotline: From now through election day, voters with disability-related issues can call GAO at: 404-885-1234 or 800-537-2329! Having trouble registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, accessing early voting, etc? Leave a message and someone will contact you within two business days!

“Under the Help America Vote Act, voters with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities for both access and participation as all other voters,” Mitchell says. “Additionally, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that governments provide people with disabilities a full and equal opportunity to vote.” The Georgia Advocacy Office will also release a survey in November following the election for voters with disabilities who experienced issues voting in the election. If you would like to receive a survey, contact Mitchell by email at cmitchell@thegao.org or call the GAO office at 404-885-1234.

"Under the Help American Vote Act, voters with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities for both access and participation as all other voters." Cheri Mitchell, member, HAVA Team, Georgia Advocacy Office.IS TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE? 
You have a few options for getting to the polls. Uber and Lyft often offer discounts for rides, and if you have a MARTA Mobility Breeze Card, you may be able to make a reservation for a ride to your polling location. Mitchell says there are multiple organizations that may be able to assist voters with transportation: “The Georgia Democrats Voter Protection Line (888-730-5816) has provided free rides to the polls, and the Republican Party of Georgia may also be able to assist (404-257-5559). You may also try the League of Women Voters (404-522-4598).” Voters unable to get to their polling place may request a mail-in ballot and vote from home. “The ballot must be received by your county registrar by the time the polls close for voting,” Mitchell says. You can request a mail-in ballot anytime between 180 days before the election to the Friday before the election (Oct. 30).

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 allows voters to bring someone with them to assist them with voting. In a federal election, this can be anyone except an employer, a representative of your employer, or a representative of your union, if you belong to one. Poll workers and watchers who are residents of your precinct are not allowed to help.

If you run into any issues while voting, ask for a provisional ballot. You have 48 hours to resolve the issue, and you can see the status of your provisional ballot through the SOS app or website. Mitchell says to vote early in the day if you can. “In Georgia, voters with disabilities do not have to wait in line at a polling place if they arrive between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM,” she says.

Your vote counts. Take your time and ask for help if you need it.