The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the county branch of the NAACP, hosted a voter registration drive at the county jail last week.
The event resulted in 38 inmates filling out applications to become registered voters, the sheriff’s office said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The DeKalb County NAACP conducts its voter outreach program with incarcerated individuals every year.
“It is important that every citizen who has the right to vote also has a chance to exercise that right,” DeKalb Sheriff Melody Maddox said in the statement, the AJC reported. “Many incarcerated individuals don’t realize that they can still cast absentee ballots in elections while they are in custody, but they must first be registered voters.”
DeKalb NAACP representatives gave inmates a primer as to the registration process and helped them complete their applications. NAACP officials said they will return the finished applications to be processed by the county elections office. Once applications are approved, registered inmates will receive absentee ballots to use in various elections.
Georgia law prohibits convicted felons who have not completed their sentence, which includes probation, parole, fines, and fees, from voting. However, men and women who have been arrested and are currently in the county jail waiting for their cases to be heard can cast ballots.
Georgia has seen a spike in the number of people registering to vote. For example, last year, 322,000 active voters were added to the rolls, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia voters between the ages of 18 to 34 have jumped 68% since October 2016, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the state’s voter lists. That group now comprises 31% of the state’s total voters.
Voters this year will choose a president, two U.S. senators and three representatives to Congress.