(TNS) — ATLANTA — As of late last week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office reported 12,787 hits — a 2,255 percent increase compared to this date last year — on Georgia’s Online Voter Registration System after Facebook’s launch of a voter registration reminder in user news feeds. Kemp said in a release he expects the numbers to continue to grow.
“I applaud Facebook for joining our efforts to increase voter registration awareness in Georgia, where it has never been easier to register to vote and engage in the electoral process,” Kemp said. “I am encouraging all Facebook users to take action now and verify their registration status leading up to this year’s historic election in November.”
Users who are 18 years of age and older can check their registration status and also register to vote online. Voters may visit www.vote.usa.gov and, after selecting Georgia as their state of residence, will be re-directed to registertovote.sos.ga.gov.
In addition to initiating their own voter registration process, Facebook users can share that they are registered to vote and encourage their friends to do the same.
“Going back to 2008, we’ve been reminding people on Facebook to vote on Election Day and directing them to information on where to vote. This is the natural next step. We want people to have a voice in the process, and getting registered means that there’s one less hurdle for them,” said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s product manager for civic engagement.
The deadline to register to vote or update voter information is Oct. 11. Georgia citizens can submit an electronic voter registration application using their Georgia driver’s license number or state-issued identification card number on several platforms: Online Voter Registration, the free “GA SOS” mobile app for Apple and Android devices, and the recently announced “2VOTE” text messaging pilot project. Individuals can also mail in hard-copy voter registration applications to their county registrar to register to vote by the deadline.
“For the first time in Georgia, voters can register to vote or update their information online, via text, or by using the office’s smartphone app,” said Kemp.
By Oct. 11, voters should verify their voting information and, if necessary, update their record, Kemp said, who noted that the “My Voter Page” is a “great resource to check your voter status, update your personal record, and view individualized voting information” to prepare for November.
“As Georgia’s chief elections official, I want to ensure every Georgian has the opportunity to register to vote and allow their voice to be heard at the polls,” said Kemp. “The right to vote for our public officials should never be taken for granted.”
County officials began mailing absentee ballots to voters on Sept. 20. Advance in-person voting begins on Oct. 17. Georgia law also requires the polls to be open on Saturday, Oct. 29 in all 159 counties for Georgians to vote in the Nov. 8 General Election.
In-person voting occurs on electronic voting equipment in Georgia. Voters who wish to cast a paper ballot must request an absentee ballot by Nov. 4. County officials are already accepting absentee ballot request applications from voters for the General Election.
Currently, more than 6.5 million voters are registered in the Peach State. Voters can find key election dates on the Elections office’s website.
©2016 The Albany Herald, Ga. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.