Our Vision

The Emory Votes Initiative fosters a more civically engaged campus by providing voter information, increasing voter turnout, and empowering our community with credible political resources. Emory students, staff, and faculty developed this nonpartisan initiative to strengthen and centralize voting efforts on campus. Let’s take the first step toward civic engagement together! One Emory, your vote, our future.

Sign Up for TurboVote!
Georgia Primary FAQ
Students and the Census
Census FAQ
Absentee Ballots & Voting by Mail
EVI Resources for your Classroom or Events!
Emory Election 2020


Sign Up for TurboVote!

TurboVote will make sure you always know when elections are happening, and have the information you need to vote with confidence. Sign up to receive election reminders, learn how to register to vote, & apply for your absentee ballot!

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Georgia Primary FAQ

Georgia’s presidential primary was delayed from March to May, where it was rolled together with state and local primaries, and finally all together to Tuesday, June 9. If you voted early or by mail in March, that vote counts, and you need to vote again by June 9 for the other state and local races. If you didn’t vote in March, you will see all the races now.
Download an absentee ballot application (a ballot request form) from the Ga Sec of State’s My Voter Page, print it, fill it out including current mailing address and party of choice, sign, add a stamp, and mail it to your county elections office county elections office—ASAP! Leave time for turnaround to get it back to them by June 9.
Because of unprecedented demand for voting by mail, plus illness in some offices, some counties have been working hard to catch up on a backlog of requests. Now that time is tight, if you are still waiting for your requested ballot, check its status in the lower left corner of your My Voter Page, contact your county elections office (DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, etc.), or call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline (866-OUR-VOTE).
On your ballot you’ll see party primaries for president, one senator, and other officials from sheriff to judges to Georgia state representatives. You can preview your sample ballot at My Voter Page, or check out the League of Women Voters’ vote411.org, with an interactive, nonpartisan voter guide. The AJC also summarizes the major races. Any of these primaries not resolved in June will go to an August 11 runoff.
Both of Georgia’s Senate seats are up for election this year, but on different schedules. June 9 includes the primary for Sen. David Perdue’s seat only. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat (formerly Johnny Isakson’s) will be up for voting in an all-party, all-candidate “jungle primary” November 3, with a possible runoff December 1.

Once your absentee ballot comes the mail, fill it out (i.e., vote! #emoryvotes), slip it in the white privacy cover (an envelope or folded piece of paper), seal that in the outer envelope, sign and date, add postage (one or two 55-cent stamps, depending on county), and mail it to reach your county elections office by June 9. Don’t worry if a May election date is printed on the ballot; it really is for June. 

If you are in Georgia, you can also choose to drop off your ballots at secure drop boxes set up by the counties, postage-free. Either way, your ballot must be in the hands of your elections officials by 7 p.m. on June 9.

You have that option, too. In-person early voting has already begun at select locations. In-person voting will also take place on election day, June 9. If you do vote in person, check your polling place carefully on your my Voter Page, as some sites have shifted, and be sure to bring a mask along with your ID.

Note that Georgia has new voting machines this year. You’ll make your selections on a touch screen, print out a paper ballot whose text you can review, then insert that ballot into another machine that will tabulate the information in its barcode.

Yes! Georgia needs fresh, young, civic-minded poll workers. It’s a paid gig. If you are available and healthy, apply to a specific county elections office (e.g., DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett). If you do plan to work that long election day, make sure you’ve already voted yourself in advance, and bring a good mask.

TurboVote is a nonpartisan organization that partners with universities like Emory. After you sign up, they send occasional texts or emails to help you register, get your absentee ballot, find your polling place, etc. They can even mail you the ballot request materials for your state—with stamps already affixed!

If you’ve already signed up with TurboVote but are living somewhere else now, sign up another time (via Emory’s TurboVote portal) with your new mailing coordinates.

Students and the Census

For the 2020 Census, students should still be counted at their Emory addresses—even if they have left for the spring and summer. Read on for details for residential and off-campus students.


[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Census FAQ

The Constitution mandates a count of the U.S. population every ten years. The census questionnaire asks how many people live in each household and gathers basic demographic data about each of them, to be used in the aggregate. Census data is crucial for fairly apportioning money and representation for the entire decade ahead.

According to the Census Bureau, “Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.”

An undercount of your area leaves dollars and power on the table.

The census counts individuals of every age and nationality for an accurate tally. To complete the questionnaire, you must be age 18 or older. You do not need to be a citizen

Per the Census Bureau, “Our nation gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States.”

The census asks where a person “lives and sleeps most of the time.” For students who mostly lived on or near campus this year, the answer is your at-school address, not your parents’ home.

This holds true even during the pandemic. As the Census Bureau spells out, “Even if you are away from your student housing due to your school being temporarily closed due to [the coronavirus], you will be counted at the student housing where you usually live.”

Don’t let this spring’s disruption block the bigger picture. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to create an accurate snapshot of the normal year-round population of this area.

If you are a student who lived in an on-campus Emory residence for most of this year, Emory Housing will work with the Census Bureau to ensure you are counted. You don’t need to take action yourself.

All others—off-campus undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty—are responsible for filling out the census questionnaire themselves, one reply per household.

By now each off-campus address should have received a mailing from the Census Bureau inviting you to respond. One adult per household should reply on behalf of everyone who lives or until recently lived there. Among roommates, pick a token head of household to fill out the questionnaire for all.

You can answer online, by phone, on paper, or in person. For the online option, go to http://my2020census.gov. To get started, enter the code from the Census Bureau mailer, or if you don’t have it on hand you can enter your street address. From there the process takes just 5–10 minutes.

The census collects basic demographic information about each person living at your address, including name, date of birth, gender, race, and relationship to the head of household, as well as the type of residence and whether you own it or rent. 

If the multiple choice answers for the race question do not represent you, you can fill in a blank. For the gender question, just two options are offered: female and male. This data is not compared against any other database, so your answer doesn’t have to match the gender on other government documents.

The census will not ask about citizenship status. It will also not ask about religion, income, your mother’s maiden name, or your full social security number. It will not ask for money.

Read more about the questions on the census.

International students living in the United States should follow the appropriate guidance for their housing situation. College students who are living outside the United States while attending college on April 1, 2020 are not counted in the census.

The Census Bureau says: “Your response is required by law. If you do not respond, the U.S. Census Bureau will follow up in person to collect your response….While you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is also required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.”

A piece from WABE 90.1 FM fleshes out that point: “Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from publicly sharing information that identifies individuals until 72 years after the data was collected. The bureau also cannot share information with agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI or the IRS. However, the bureau can share demographic information about groups down to the neighborhood level.”

The nonpartisan organization Nonprofit VOTE adds: “The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep identifiable information confidential. Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. Census workers take a lifetime oath to protect the privacy of respondents and face jail time or heavy fines if they violate that oath.”

Hard-to-count groups include mobile young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, renters, young children, non-English speakers, undocumented immigrants, low-income people, the transient, and those with disabilities.

An interactive map from the CUNY (City University of New York) Mapping Service shows response rates for census tracts across the country. As April 2020 dawned, Georgia’s “self-response” rate had only reached 34 percent, slightly below the current national response rate of 36 percent. Maybe by the time you read this those numbers will have improved.

In addition to filling out your own census, check with your relatives to make sure they have answered theirs, too. If they are not native English speakers, let them know the questionnaire is available in several other languages, and citizenship is neither required nor asked about.

It’s http://my2020census.gov. The number of U.S. House seats per state, the amount of funding for aid and social programs, the drawing of district lines for the next ten years—these all rely on accurate population counts. So be counted.

As a volunteer: Look for local civic engagement nonprofit organizations that are reaching out to easily undercounted communities to encourage participation.

For pay: The Census Bureau says its field operation, originally scheduled to start in April, may be delayed due to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the bureau is still hiring for some positions.

There’s more on the importance of the census from the organization Census Counts. Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE overviewed the ins and outs of the census from a Georgia angle last fall. A conversation from Georgia Public Broadcasting emphasizes how much money each response earns the state. The AJC points out the census’s importance for genealogists.

From the Census Bureau itself:





Absentee Ballots & Voting by Mail

Georgia has postponed its primary elections to June 9. In addition to president, this is your chance to vote in primaries for a U.S. Senate seat, the U.S. House, the Georgia General Assembly, and local officials such as sheriff.

If you already voted in the presidential primary in March (in early voting or by mail), that vote counts; you now need to vote again for the remaining races. If you did not vote in March, your new absentee ballot will contain all the primary races. (For all other states, see updates here.)

For the first time ever, Georgia is encouraging widespread voting by mail. There are three ways to get an absentee ballot application (ballot request form).

  • The secretary of state is sending absentee ballot applications to all active Georgia voters with individuals’ information partly filled in. If you are still at the address at which you registered to vote, or if you’ve moved away and left an official forwarding address on file with the U.S. Postal Service, that form should reach you in the mail.
  • Or…if you are signed up with TurboVote, they can send you a blank ballot request form—including postage! Bonus! Make sure they know where to find you. Sign up here, again if needed.
  • Or…you can download a form. Log into the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page. Under “Absentee Ballot Request Form,” click for a blank application.

Once you’ve got an absentee ballot application in hand, your next steps are requesting your actual paper ballot, with your local races and your party of choice, and voting.

  1. Fill out the application completely. County, party, full legal name and the address at which you registered. You may provide a different, temporary address, where they will mail your ballot. Be sure to sign your name. The signature must match the signature on file with the Georgia Secretary of State from your voter registration. (If necessary, print out the form, sign it, and scan or clearly photograph the page.)
  2. Return your application. Send it through the mail (adding postage unless TurboVote has provided it). In addition, you might want to email your scanned or photographed application to your county elections office.
    DeKalb: absenteeballot@dekalbcountyga.gov
    Fulton: elections.absentee@fultoncountyga.gov
    All others: Consult your county elections office.
  3. Await your paper absentee ballot. Once it arrives, follow all instructions carefully. New voters might be asked to include a copy of ID. Questions? See details from the Secretary of State or call your county registrar.
  4. Mail your ballot back in the envelopes provided (adding stamps for first-class postage as directed). It must arrive at your county elections office no later than June 9. Track its progress in the Absentee Ballot section of your voter page.

Here’s an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article recapping all the nitty gritty about voting by mail in Georgia. Voters registered in other states, follow TurboVote’s prompts or check your local elections information for updates about any remaining primaries. Happy voting, and thank you for your civic engagement!

EVI Resources for your Classroom or Events!

Click to access Emory Votes Initiative Documents (and videos once done) to learn how to get your class, group, or event signed up for TurboVote.

What is TurboVote? | How to Table | TurboVote Informational Guide 



Emory received recognition from
the ALL IN Campus Democracy
for student voter turnout;
Bronze award for Oxford;
Gold award for Atlanta.

Learn More 


Emory University and Oxford College are participating in the All IN Democracy Challenge which empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in student democratic engagement. Learn more about the challenge.

Georgia’s My Voter Page: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

Ballotpedia, Ballotpedia is the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections: https://www.ballotpedia.org/Main_Page

EVI has several ways for students, faculty, and staff to participate in voter education and awareness throughout the year. EVI has student interns, working groups, a steering committee and is primarily under the Center for Civic and Community Engagement. To stay up to date on current ways to get involved, or want to know more, email emoryvotes@emory.edu.

Get updates from our Bi-Weekly EVI Newsletter! Want to be on the list? Email emoryvotes@emory.edu.

To increase visibility and engagement the committee is tabling at events like Wonderful Wednedsays, Homecoming, etc.



Emory University experts are available to provide commentary on a broad range of topics related to the 2020 presidential election including health care policy, polling, voting behavior, gender and politics, and race and politics, among others.

Learn More