Opinion: An historic election draws nigh

SUNDAY ISSUE: GEORGIA ELECTIONS 2020

The Nov. 3 election is now only 9 days away. The work to choose who will represent us in local, state and national government is hurtling toward its conclusion. As of last Wednesday, more than 2.1 million Georgians had already cast their ballots, either by absentee or at in-person early voting locations. And substantial further turnout was expected for Saturday’s day of in-person voting.

There are now a record 7.6 million registered voters in Georgia, according to voter registration rolls obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the secretary of state’s office after the Oct. 5 registration deadline. That’s up by one million new voters since 2016.

It’s expected that more than 5 million Georgians are expected to turn out in this year’s election, significantly surpassing the 4.1 million who voted in 2016.

We’ve written here before that this will be among the most-momentous elections in American history. The record numbers of those participating so far bear that out.

Anyone paying attention knows that the foundations of this republic and a needed common civic faith in its key institutions of government are at a very low point now.

A transcript of the 1789 joint session of the First Congress, which began the work to create the Bill of Rights notes that “extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

In an Oct. 11 editorial, we wrote that: “The great American experiment is imperiled if progress fully stalls amid our present anger and discord. Our history, imperfect as it is, has been marked by a relentless march toward ideals that have long defined us.”

Which is why this year’s election is so important. It is our chance to have a say in where things go from here.

That’s made possible in good part by the choices we will make in this election. Making thoughtful choices requires information backed by real facts that aren’t tainted by partisan motives.

As we noted Oct. 11: “The coming election gives us all a powerful tool toward regaining this part of our American heritage. Making correct choices will require old-fashioned nonpartisan knowledge.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is here to help.

We don’t take lightly our duty enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, and our mission demands we lean fully into the work of helping safeguard democracy against onslaughts of disinformation. That’s as important now as it’s ever been.

Toward that end, we’re publishing information you can use to research the issues at hand and navigate the remaining path toward voting this year.

At AJC.com now, you’ll find a voter guide that provides accurate and comprehensive information about the choices and big issues that Georgians must decide. It will appear again in Sunday’s newspaper on Nov. 1.

The information in this guide is as unbiased and nonpartisan as we can make it -- unlike the partisan campaign flyers that are still arriving at our homes in the final days of this election cycle.

Our work is different, and we want you to know that.

And we realize the choices you make are fully yours, and we respect that.

We hope that you will keep that in mind as you absorb the information in our voter guide and our ongoing reporting about the big issues.

And, most importantly, if you have not yet voted your ballot, please do so. If you’ve done so already, thank you.

The Editorial Board.

Here’s other election and voting information for your reference.

Other voting information

  • To-do now if you haven’t already: Request an absentee ballot form. This can be done electronically. Check with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office or your county’s election office for details. To request an absentee ballot online: ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov
  • You may already have an absentee ballot: Check your mail. Multiple organizations have already snail-mailed paper absentee ballot request forms to many prospective Georgia voters in recent weeks. They can be emailed or even faxed in. Check your county’s election office for details.
  • Submitting completed absentee ballots: Completed, properly prepared absentee ballots can be mailed to county election offices once sufficient postage is affixed. Mail now to best allow for timely delivery in case of postal delays. At this point, it may be best to drop off completed absentee ballots at designated county collection boxes. These drop boxes are available in every metro Atlanta county and in many other areas. Voters can insert their absentee ballots in drop boxes anytime before polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. No stamp is necessary at drop boxes. Absentee ballots must be returned in the county where voters are registered to vote. Check with your county election office for the latest information on drop box locations. Information about the process and locations can also be found at AJC.com.
  • For general information on your voting status: Go to mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

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