Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day. If you are a registered voter in the state of Georgia, your last chance to make your voice heard is now.

How many people have voted already?

As of October 1, 2022, there were 205,753 registered voters in Clayton County. Of those, 175,599 were listed as active, while 30,154 were listed as inactive. The latest figures from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website shows Clayton County has 176,929 active voters.

55,847 early votes were cast in person in Clayton County as of November 4, 2022. Elections and Registration received 6,128 mail-in applications for paper advance/absentee ballots. Of that number, 5,914 were processed; 216 were rejected; and 4,560 ballots were received. All numbers are unofficial until approved by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Office. (Table: Clayton County Elections and Registration)

Who is an active voter in Clayton County?

Here’s who the current 176,929 active voters in Clayton County are:

  • The largest groups are voters ages 65+ (26,593) and ages 18-24 (23,623).
  • The next largest groups are ages 30-34 (19,631) and ages 25-29 (19,591).
  • Other voters by age group include:
    • Ages 35-39: 15,862
    • Ages 40-44: 14,458
    • Ages 45-49: 14, 071
    • Ages 50-54: 15,006
    • Ages 55-59: 14,844
    • Ages 60-64: 13,250
  • Women are the largest group by gender at 98,178. That’s 55.49% of all active voters in Clayton County.
  • Men make up 78,311 of Clayton County voters.
  • Another 440 voters’ gender was listed as “unknown.”
  • Black people who are not of Hispanic origin are by far Clayton County’s largest voter demographic at 122,395 (that’s 69.17% of active voters in the county).
  • Whites not of Hispanic origin (18,933) and “unknown” (16,686) are the next largest groups by race in Clayton County.
  • Other groups by race include:
    • Hispanic (8,121)
    • Asian or Pacific Islander (5,489)
    • “Other” (4,666)
    • American Indian or Alaskan (639)

What you need to know

  • Precincts will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
  • You MUST vote at your assigned precinct in person.
  • Look up your assigned precinct at https://mvp.sos.ga.gov.
    • Log in with your first initial, last name, choose “CLAYTON” from the pull-down menu, and enter your birthdate (for example, “04/15/1978”) and click the blue “SUBMIT” button.
    • Scroll down and click on “VIEW / PRINT PRECINCT CARD.”
    • You should see a copy of your voter registration card. Scroll down to where it says “PRECINCT NAME” and you’ll see an abbreviation (for example, FP3). That address is where you will go to vote in person on Tuesday.
    • If you also see “CITY PRECINCT,” followed by a number or other abbreviation, don’t worry. That’s only for municipal (city) elections. This Tuesday’s election is for state, federal, and county seats, as well as for statewide amendments and ballot questions. No citywide races (such as for mayor and city councilmembers) are on this ballot.
    • You also can look at a copy of your ballot on the My Voter Page, or the sample ballot for Clayton County on the Elections and Registration website.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need a copy of your state-approved ID for voting purposes. That includes any of the following, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office:

  • Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including a free ID card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services
  • A Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
  • Student ID from a Georgia public college or university
  • Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state 
  • Valid U.S. passport ID 
  • Valid U.S. military photo ID containing a photograph of the voter
  • Valid tribal photo ID containing a photograph of the voter

If you are older or have trouble standing for extended periods of time, you might want to bring a lightweight folding chair in case there’s a line at your precinct.

For the same reasons, you should consider bringing a bottle of water. Under SB 202, volunteers are no longer allowed to hand out water or snacks to voters waiting in line.

Do not wear any sort of partisan campaign gear like caps, t-shirts, buttons, or stickers promoting a candidate or issue on the ballot. Doing so is a violation of electioneering laws.

Similarly, no candidate and no one working or volunteering for a candidate’s campaign is allowed within 150 feet of the polling place (unless they are voting). That means no signs, no sign-waving, no meet-and-greet, no asking for votes. Candidates who are voting must get in and get out.

Who’s running? What’s on the ballot?

Check your My Voter Page to see the specific candidates running in your district. In this election, many state legislative and county races only have one person running for that office. However, the big federal and statewide races are hotly contested, as you likely know from the firehose of political ads at every TV commercial break.

We’ve paraphrased job descriptions for various offices below. The big ones include:

  • Governor: The governor is the chief executive officer of the state, as well as chief law enforcement officer and commander of the Georgia Department of Defense.
    • Stacey Abrams (D)
    • Brian Kemp (R) (incumbent)
    • Shane Hazel (L)
  • Lt. Governor: The lieutenant governor is also President of the Georgia Senate and works with lobbyists and others to push bills through the General Assembly.
    • Charlie Bailey (D)
    • Burt Jones (R)
    • Ryan Graham (L)
  • Secretary of State: The secretary of state is in charge of voting, annual corporate filings, professional licensing, and the state’s securities (bonds) market.
    • Bee Nguyen (D)
    • Brad Raffensperger (R) (incumbent)
    • Ted Metz (L)
  • Attorney General: The attorney general is the state’s chief legal advisor, serving the governor, all state agencies, boards, and commissions, and represents the state in all civil cases and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • Jennifer “Jen” Jordan (D)
    • Chris Carr (R) (incumbent)
    • Martin Cowen (L)
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: The agriculture commissioner is in charge of animal industry, food safety, fuel and measures, laboratories, plant industry, marketing, and administration of the nation’s oldest state agriculture department.
    • Nakita Hemingway (D)
    • Tyler Harper (R)
    • David Raudabaugh (L)
  • Commissioner of Insurance: The insurance and safety fire commissioner is in charge of insurance company licensing and regulation, and making sure that insurance rates, rules, and forms follow Georgia law. The commissioner also investigates alleged insurance fraud and inspects buildings and suspicions of insurance fraud; and conducts fire inspections of buildings and houses.
    • Janice Laws Robinson (D)
    • John King (R) (incumbent)
  • State School Superintendent: The state school superintendent is in charge of the Georgia Department of Education, which runs Georgia’s K-12 public schools. 
    • Alisha Thomas Searcy (D)
    • Richard Woods (R) (incumbent)
  • Commissioner of Labor: The labor commissioner is responsible for the state’s unemployment insurance, job training and rehabilitation, and statistics and other research on Georgia’s labor market.
    • William “Will” Boddie, Jr. (D)
    • Bruce Thompson (R)
    • Emily Anderson (L)
  • U.S. House of Representatives, District 5: A member of the U.S. House of Representatives (“Congressperson”) votes on federal legislation on behalf of their constituents in the district. They must be at least 25, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and be a resident of the state they represent. They serve two-year terms.
    • Nikema Williams (D) (incumbent)
    • Christian Zimm (R)
  • U.S. House of Representatives, District 13: A member of the U.S. House of Representatives (“Congressperson”) votes on federal legislation on behalf of their constituents in the district. They must be at least 25, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and be a resident of the state they represent. They serve two-year terms.
    • David Scott (D) (incumbent)
    • Caesar Gonzales (R)

At the Gold Dome, the only contested races in Clayton County include:

  • State Senate District 34, where Democratic incumbent Valencia Seay faces Republican challenger Tommy Smith
  • State House District 75, where Democratic incumbent Mike Glanton faces Republican challenger Della Ashley
  • State House District 116, where Democratic incumbent El-Mahdi Holly faces Republican challenger Bruce Bennington

Candidates for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Districts 1 and 4; Clayton County School Board Districts 1, 4, 8, and 9; and the Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, are all unopposed incumbents.

Two constitutional amendments and two statewide referendum questions are on the ballot, as well:

  • Amendment 1 would suspend pay for certain public officials who are indicted on a felony charge. Those officials would include the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state school superintendent, insurance commissioner, agriculture commissioner, labor commissioner, and members of the General Assembly. (Read the bill.)
  • Amendment 2 would allow local governments and school boards to suspend property taxes temporarily for severely damaged or destroyed properties after a natural disaster. (Read the bill.)
  • Question A would give timber harvesting companies the ability to buy timber-harvesting machinery without having to pay any sales tax. (Read the bill.)
  • Question B would allow two or more entities that merge to create a single family-owned farm to get a property tax exemption. and it would expand that break to dairy and unfertilized egg farms. (Read the bill.)

In the City of Morrow, voters will decide whether to increase the homestead tax exemption to $80,000:

Shall the Act be approved that provides for an amendment to the $60,000.00 homestead exemption from the City of Morrow ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes so as to increase the exemption to $80,000.00?

The ballot question comes on the heels of city officials cutting property taxes by 6.18%, based on the millage rate cut of 0.582 mils. The city’s current net millage for maintenance and operations is 8.499 mils.

Morrow’s FY 2023 budget requested $2.09 million in property taxes, with requested total revenues at $16,953,986.38.

Should the measure pass, it would take effect this January 2023.

Can I take a selfie of my ballot or of myself in the voting booth?

No. Georgia law forbids photographing someone’s vote—even if it’s just you taking a picture of yourself voting. If you feel the urge to memorialize the historic moment, take a selfie at the banner set up outside the poll for that purpose, or sport your “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker after the fact!

Should I worry about threats?

As of press time, no election-related threats had been reported. Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts said, “We have a larger number of officers than we usually have scheduled, so we will have a greater presence. The school police will be supplementing our usual numbers. We have no confirmed threats thus far.” An elections official told The Clayton Crescent they were not aware of any threats.

Can I pack my firearm at the polling place?

No. Georgia law forbids firearms within 1,000 feet of any school and within 150 feet of polling places. Many private concerns, such as churches, also forbid firearms on the premises. Leave your piece at home or unload it, empty the chamber, and lock it in your vehicle. If you open carry, you cannot say anything about political matters to voters waiting in line. In fact, no one can electioneer within 25 feet of a voter in line. Voters have the right to report such activity to poll workers, law enforcement, or 911 immediately.

What if the election worker says I’m not on the roll at my precinct?

You have the right to request and to cast a provisional ballot right then and there. Once you cast your provisional ballot, you will have three (3) days—that is, until Friday, Nov. 11—to show up in person at the Elections and Registration Office at the Historic Courthouse in Jonesboro to “cure” your ballot. Curing your ballot means you produce whatever evidence shows that you are voting in the correct precinct, such as an electric bill with your name and the correct address on it. If your ballot is rejected, you will be notified as to why.

What if I’m at the wrong precinct when the polls are about to close?

Under SB202, if you show up at the wrong precinct, the poll worker will tell you the precinct where you are registered to vote, and that any vote cast in the wrong precinct before 5 p.m. will not count. However, if it is between 5 p.m. and closing time, which for this election is 7 p.m., you can ask for a provisional ballot and swear out a statement stating why you cannot get to the correct polling place in time to vote.

I forgot to drop off my paper advance/absentee ballot. Can I do it on Tuesday?

No. You will have to vote on the machines in person. Be sure to write “SPOILED” across your ballot envelope and bring it with you to the polls. The election worker will take it from you and destroy it so that it is not counted. Remember to bring your state-approved ID for voting purposes.

I saw someone trying to intimidate voters or sway their vote at the polling place. Who do I call?

Report any voter intimidation or illegal election activities immediately. If you see any questionable activity at your precinct, call the Georgia Election Fraud Hotline at (888) 532-0148. A member of the State Election Investigations team may contact you for more information. You also may report questionable election activity through the online form at the Georgia Attorney General’s Office: https://law.georgia.gov/resources/election-fraud-complaint-hotline .

Please call or text The Clayton Crescent at (404) 547-1171 if you report any alleged acts of intimidation or illegal election activity—but call the hotline first.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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