Republicans are getting nervous as the January 5th Georgia senate runoffs loom and Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are set to face off against Democrats Rafael Warnock and John Ossoff.
Both senators were forced into two January runoff elections after failing to hit the 50% threshold in vote counts in the presidential election.
Democrats are targeting first-time young voters, a demographic they see as key to flipping the Senate. If they can boost turnout among these voters they believe they can overcome the enthusiasm gap that typically gives Republicans an advantage in Georgia runoff elections.
Former Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox reminded 17-year-olds that some may be able to register and participate in the upcoming election.
About 23,000 Georgia teens who were not eligible to vote in the general election on November 3 will turn 18 and become eligible in time to participate in the runoff elections on January 5.
Cox told local TV station WGXA that Georgia law allows a teenager within six months of their 18th birthday, to register to vote. Even though they can’t actually vote at 17, if they turn 18 after registering and before or on election day, they are eligible to cast a vote.
Georgia is one of three states to have this specific voting rule for preregistration, an election procedure that allows individuals younger than 18 years of age to register to vote, so they are eligible to cast a ballot when they reach 18, the voting age for all state and federal elections.
Typically, a pre-registrant will fill out an application and be added to the voter registration list with a “pending” or “preregistration” status. Upon turning 18, the individual is added to the voter registration list and able to cast a ballot.
“We want those young people to really get excited about their first opportunity to vote,” said Cox.
Teens may register online, by mail or in person. They will need to provide identification, such as a driver’s license number, their home address, last four digits of their social security number and contact information, like email and phone numbers.
Cox explained that it’s also legal for guardians to take their children who aren’t eligible to vote with them to the polls to watch the process.
“Let them see the process and get excited about the responsibility we all have as Americans to be responsible and knowledgeable voters,” Cox said.
I encourage adults out there, when they go to vote, whether they vote early or on election day, to take your children with you.”
Cox encouraged all voters to be informed and knowledgeable about the candidates in order to make “My hope is that all voters, in particular young voters who might be voting for the first time, might go and make a decision for themselves.”