A new crop of voters could decide Georgia's Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs, if they meet the Monday deadline to register.
Prospective voters can register online at registertovote.sos.ga.gov until 11:59 p.m. Monday or have their registration form postmarked Monday.
The high-stakes runoffs could shift control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats, if challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Their wins would create a 50-50 tie in the Senate, giving Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a tiebreaking vote. There's also a Jan. 5 runoff for a Public Service Commission seat.
Though turnout often drops for runoffs, Democrats who saw President-elect Joe Biden carry the state are continuing registration drives and absentee-ballot initiatives to encourage voting by mail in hopes of making Georgia solid blue.
The nonpartisan Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information have partnered with the Georgia NAACP to increase turnout and have sent mail to about 65,000 unregistered voters who turn 18 between Jan. 1 and Jan. 5, said Tom Lopach, the CEO of the first two organizations.
The groups track their efforts and successfully prompted the registration of 115,235 new voters ahead of the general election, he said.
"We are working to get the necessary information and tools in the hands of eligible voters, especially Black and brown voters, young people and unmarried women who are historically shut out of our democratic process," Lopach said.
Right now about 2.4 million eligible Georgia voters are not registered, with 73% in the underrepresented categories, he said.
To register, a voter must be 17½ years old and turn 18 by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a legal resident of the county where they register and not be serving a felony sentence or found mentally incompetent by a judge.
About 23,000 young people too young to vote Nov. 3 will be 18 by Jan. 5, according to voter nonprofit The Civics Center.
No ID is required to register, but voters must provide their driver's license, state ID card number or last four digits of their Social Security number, address and birth date.
Area voter rolls have increased since Nov. 3. Richmond County, which saw a record number participate in the Nov. 3 election, gained 3,484 new voters since then to 138,233, said Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.
State numbers put active registered voters in Columbia County at 107,656, up 276 since the election.
Bailey said about 80% of the new Augusta registrations are those who just missed the Oct. 5 deadline to register to vote Nov. 3, while some of the others have been delivered by area registration efforts.
She credits a 2016 change in Georgia's method of registering voters at the Department of Driver Services with most registration increases.
Since the state now registers voters when they obtain a driver's license unless they check a box opting out, registration numbers have increased by some 33,000 since the 2016 presidential election, she said. "More people are registered to vote than ever before," Bailey said.
Augusta Chronicle, December 5, 2020
The original title of this article was Register by Monday to vote in Jan. 5 Georgia U.S. Senate runoff election
December 7, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Georgia, new voters must register by today! You can ask for an absentee ballot too.Early voting begins Dec. 14. If @Ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win on January 5, the Senate will be blue and McConnell will not be able to block Biden's proposals and appointees.Please pass this on. Everyone in GA needs to know.
For Georgians wondering about the schedule, here are some key dates to remember as the second round of the races kick off, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's website: