With election day less than 50 days away, another date also is looming in October -- the last day to register in order to be eligible to cast a ballot.

Georgia residents have several options in registering, but whether a voter chooses to do it online or in person the deadline is Oct. 9 if they want to vote in the Nov. 6 general election.

Ahead of that deadline, Colquitt County Democrats are holding a voter drive from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today at which some of the local candidates are scheduled to appear.

While the presidential race is always the biggest draw on a ballot, local voters will decide races for Colquitt County sheriff and county commission District 2. They also will cast ballots in races for District 171 state representative, for state Public Service Commission and in a referendum on granting the state more power in establishing charter schools.

Those who are not registered may download an application from the Secretary of State’s office at http://www.sos.ga.gov. Colquitt County residents also may request mail-in forms at the Voter Registrar’s office, or a public library, Department of Family and Childrens Services office, military recruitment office, schools and other government offices.

A prospective voter is required to be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of the state and county, and at least 17 1/2 years old. Those registering for the first time by mail must mail a copy of a form of identification and also present identification to the voter registrar before or at the time of voting.

Those who not sure whether they are registered or not can check with the registrar at (229) 616-7056 or online through the Secretary of State.

Although the Colquitt County Democratic Party is holding the registration drive today, anyone who wishes to participate is welcome, said Lameir Slaughter, party vice chairman and organizer of the event, which will include speakers and performances by church choirs.

“I don’t care which way you vote, we’re just trying to get people registered,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who haven’t been registered.”

Over the last three months the party has registered more than 300 people and hopes to add to that total with today’s event, he said.

“The reason for voting is, it’s not just about the presidential election, it’s about local voting too,” he said. “We complain, but some people do not vote. We need to hold elected officials accountable.”

For black people, Slaughter said, there is another reason to vote.

“At a certain time there was a group of people who couldn’t vote, now we all can,” Slaughter said. “There were some great sacrifices made to make that happen.”

Among those scheduled to attend the registration rally are Sheriff Al Whittington and his challenger, Jerry Evers.

For additional information about voter issues, contact Voter Registrar Paula McCullough at (229) 616-7056, or Probate Court Judge Wes Lewis, who serves as election superintendent, at (229) 616-7415.

With the presidential race on the ballot, Lewis said he expects voter turnout of at least 60 percent. Turnout in 2004 for Colquitt County was 73.52, and was 69.48 percent in 2008.

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