Your vote is your voice, and Emory takes seriously its responsibility to help you express it. The Emory Votes Initiative fosters a more engaged campus by providing nonpartisan voter information, supporting voter turnout, and empowering our community with credible resources. Young people are traditionally underrepresented in civic life. EVI helps set active civic engagement habits early in adulthood so all students graduate as lifelong involved global citizens.

Sign Up for TurboVote!
Voting by Mail in Georgia
Students and the Census
Census FAQ
Faculty ToolKit
About EVI
Emory Election 2020

Sign Up for TurboVote!

TurboVote is an online tool that helps you vote in every election. It helps you register, texts you reminders, and mails forms straight to you. In 2019–2020, Emory ranked number three for campus TurboVote sign-ups nationally.


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Voting by Mail in Georgia

Did you know Georgians have three voting dates this cycle besides November 3? The primary runoff (for local races not decided in June, sheriff, etc.) is August 11, with two potential runoffs after November. Georgia will not automatically mail ballot request forms to voters as it did in the spring, so individuals must take the initiative. It isn’t hard; it just takes a little planning. You need to submit a separate ballot request for each date. Since you can send in more than one at a time, why not get a head start? Fill out forms for a couple of elections and submit them together now.


  1. Download your absentee ballot application (request form).
  2. Fill it out and sign by hand. To find your voter registration number, log in to My Voter Page and click “Print/Email Precinct Card” at the bottom. More tips here.
  3. Mail it to your county elections office with a 55 cent stamp. Or check your county for other options. DeKalb and Newton accept forms via email. As of July, Fulton does not.
  4. Follow its status in the lower left of My Voter Page till you receive your paper ballot.
  5. Vote! Research the candidates, fill out the ballot, and mail it back to your county, adding postage.

(TurboVote makes voting by mail easier. Sign up at Emory’s portal. If you signed up before but are living elsewhere this fall, sign up again with your current mailing address.)

Fall election dates from the Georgia Secretary of State, all Tuesdays

  • August 11: Georgia state and local primary runoff
  • November 3: General election
  • December 1: Georgia general runoff for local and state races, if needed
  • January 5: Georgia general runoff for federal (Congressional) seats, if needed

While your calendar is out, know any Georgia residents who need to register to vote or update their registration? The deadline (for November voting) is Monday, October 5. They can start here, and then vote, vote, and vote! #emoryvotes

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 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 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: 

Faculty Toolkit

As an instructor, you can play a powerful role in smoothing students’ path to the polls—and it can take as little or as much class time as you like. Please read EVI’s Letter to Faculty and take advantage of the other tools in this kit: guidelines for introducing TurboVote and voting in class, signup and registration FAQ, a resource guide tying academic areas to policy issues, and suggestions for civic involvement beyond voting. Thank you for helping Emory fulfill its obligation to graduate engaged, lifelong global citizens.

About the EVI

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.
The EVI Steering Committee numbers some dozen faculty, staff, and students from across the Atlanta and Oxford campuses of Emory University. It collaborates with a small group of interns, a larger group of engaged members from across the campus community, and a growing network of student organizations. In 2019–2020, to further Emory’s civic engagement efforts, the Center for Civic and Community Engagement hired a part-time, temporary assistant program coordinator with funds assembled from the Office of the Provost and Emory Campus Life.
  • 100% of first-year students. In 2020 the Emory Votes Initiative will reach every incoming freshman about the importance of civic engagement through Emory Essential summer modules and through fall orientation courses (PACE 101 and Discovery seminars). 
  • No. 3 with TurboVote. Emory ranked third nationally for campus TurboVote sign-ups in 2019–2020, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the student body.
  • ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. For increasing Emory student turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, EVI was recognized by the ALL In Challenge with a Gold Seal for the Atlanta campus (41% turnout, an increase of almost a quarter over the previous midterms) and a Bronze Seal for Oxford College (28% turnout). Article.
  • Platinum PR Awards, PRNEWS. Emory University received two honorable mentions at PRNEWS’ awards gala in New York for the 2018 midterm election Emory Votes community engagement campaign “Our Civic Duty.”
  • Follow the Emory Votes Initiative on Facebook and Instagram @emoryvotes.
  • EVI distributes a newsletter every couple of weeks with voting information and EVI news. To join the mailing list, email

Emory Election 2020



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.

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