2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 6 - Registration of Voters
§ 21-2-217. Rules for Determining Residence

Universal Citation: GA Code § 21-2-217 (2020)
  1. In determining the residence of a person desiring to register to vote or to qualify to run for elective office, the following rules shall be followed so far as they are applicable:
    1. The residence of any person shall be held to be in that place in which such person's habitation is fixed, without any present intention of removing therefrom;
    2. A person shall not be considered to have lost such person's residence who leaves such person's home and goes into another state or county or municipality in this state, for temporary purposes only, with the intention of returning, unless such person shall register to vote or perform other acts indicating a desire to change such person's citizenship and residence;
    3. A person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county or municipality of this state into which such person has come for temporary purposes only without the intention of making such county or municipality such person's permanent place of abode;
    4. If a person removes to another state with the intention of making it such person's residence, such person shall be considered to have lost such person's residence in this state;

      (4.1) If a person removes to another county or municipality in this state with the intention of making it such person's residence, such person shall be considered to have lost such person's residence in the former county or municipality in this state;

    5. If a person removes to another state with the intention of remaining there an indefinite time and making such state such person's place of residence, such person shall be considered to have lost such person's residence in this state, notwithstanding that such person may intend to return at some indefinite future period;
    6. If a person removes to another county or municipality within this state with the intention of remaining there an indefinite time and making such other county or municipality such person's place of residence, such person shall be considered to have lost such person's residence in the former county or municipality, notwithstanding that such person may intend to return at some indefinite future period;
    7. The residence for voting purposes of a person shall not be required to be the same as the residence for voting purposes of his or her spouse;
    8. No person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence by reason of such person's presence or absence while enrolled as a student at any college, university, or other institution of learning in this state;
    9. The mere intention to acquire a new residence, without the fact of removal, shall avail nothing; neither shall the fact of removal without the intention;
    10. No member of the armed forces of the United States shall be deemed to have acquired a residence in this state by reason of being stationed on duty in this state;
    11. If a person removes to the District of Columbia or other federal territory, another state, or foreign country to engage in government service, such person shall not be considered to have lost such person's residence in this state during the period of such service; and the place where the person resided at the time of such person's removal shall be considered and held to be such person's place of residence;
    12. If a person is adjudged mentally ill and is committed to an institution for the mentally ill, such person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in the county in which the institution to which such person is committed is located;
    13. If a person goes into another state and while there exercises the right of a citizen by voting, such person shall be considered to have lost such person's residence in this state;
    14. The specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person's residence address; and
    15. For voter registration purposes, the board of registrars and, for candidacy residency purposes, the Secretary of State, election superintendent, or hearing officer may consider evidence of where the person receives significant mail such as personal bills and any other evidence that indicates where the person resides.
  2. In determining a voter's qualification to register and vote, the registrars to whom such application is made shall consider, in addition to the applicant's expressed intent, any relevant circumstances determining the applicant's residence. The registrars taking such registration may consider the applicant's financial independence, business pursuits, employment, income sources, residence for income tax purposes, age, marital status, residence of parents, spouse, and children, if any, leaseholds, sites of personal and real property owned by the applicant, motor vehicle and other personal property registration, and other such factors that the registrars may reasonably deem necessary to determine the qualification of an applicant to vote in a primary or election. The decision of the registrars to whom such application is made shall be presumptive evidence of a person's residence for voting purposes.

(Code 1981, §21-2-217, enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 21, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 52, § 9; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 16.)

Cross references.

- Right of nonresident to vote, § 1-2-9.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Chevron Two-Step in Georgia's Administrative Law," see 46 Ga. L. Rev. 871 (2012).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 34-632 and former Code Section 21-2-241 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Residency requirement of Commissioner met.

- In a case involving the residency requirements of O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-217(a) and46-2-1(b), the trial court properly granted a Commissioner's motion for summary judgment because the evidence established the Commissioner's residence in District Two at least 12 months prior to the Commissioner's election to the Public Service Commission; pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-2-3, the domicile of the Commissioner's spouse in another district was not presumed to be the Commissioner's domicile. Dozier v. Baker, 283 Ga. 543, 661 S.E.2d 543 (2008).

In ruling a candidate was not qualified to be elected as a member of the commission from a Georgia Public Service Commission district because the candidate did not meet the residency requirements of O.C.G.A. § 46-2-1(b), the Georgia Secretary of State erred in considering only the homestead exemption rule, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-217(a)(14), and ignoring the other applicable portions of § 21-2-217(a) to determine the candidate's residency. Handel v. Powell, 284 Ga. 550, 670 S.E.2d 62 (2008).

County residents' challenge to a school board candidate's residency qualification under O.C.G.A. § 45-2-1(1) and Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VIII, Sec. V, Para. II, was barred by res judicata because another challenger had raised the same challenge, and it had been resolved against the challenger by the county's board of elections. Lilly v. Heard, 295 Ga. 399, 761 S.E.2d 46 (2014).

Irrebuttable presumption of married woman's residence unconstitutional.

- The joint operation of former Code 1933, §§ 79-403, 79-407 and 34-632 (see O.C.G.A. §§ 19-2-3 and19-2-6), and former § 21-2-241, respectively, insofar as it established an irrebuttable presumption that the domicile and residence of a married woman was that of her husband, and thereby prevents her from registering to vote in Georgia, violated U.S. Const., amend. 19. Kane v. Fortson, 369 F. Supp. 1342 (N.D. Ga. 1973) (decided prior to 1982 amendment to former Code 1933, § 34-632).

Husband and wife were qualified to vote in a city election where their testimony showed that (1) the husband grew up in the city and entered the military, and that all of his relatives still lived in the city; (2) when he retired from the military in 1993, they had a house in another city, but always considered the city to be their home, (3) the husband worked for the city, and they would regularly travel back and forth between the two cities, (4) they attended church in the city and had a trailer there which they sold two or three years earlier, (5) after the sale of the trailer, they would stay in the city with the husband's mother, (6) the husband apparently still owned some real property in the city and was in the city almost every day, (7) the wife's bank account was in the city and she had voted in the city for 16 years, and (8) their expressed intent was to keep their house in the other city temporarily and to return to the city permanently. Holton v. Hollingsworth, 270 Ga. 591, 514 S.E.2d 6 (1999).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 34-632 and former Code Section 21-2-241 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Individual's intent as to determination of domicile.

- A registrar must acquire and examine the available evidence in order to ascertain the intent of each individual, on a case by case basis, to determine the domicile of that individual. 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 90-1 (decided under former Code Section 21-2-241 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

One who moves away from a county and makes a home elsewhere forfeits right to vote in that county. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 65-56 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-632 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Residence of person between 18 and 21 years of age.

- A citizen over 18 years but under 21 years is sui juris for voting purposes and the citizen can establish a residence apart from the residence of parents. However, such citizens must still fulfill the residence requirements established by law and each application should be decided by the voter registrars in accordance with established principles of determining residence. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 71-151 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-632 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Residence of member of armed forces.

- A person who is a member of the armed forces does not acquire residence in this state merely because the person is stationed here. A member of the armed forces stationed in this state, who acquires a domicile here, without any present intention of removing therefrom, and to which, whenever the individual is absent, the individual intends to return, would acquire residence in this state. 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-68 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-632 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

United States Navy personnel living offshore in a submarine while stationed at an armed forces base in Georgia may establish residence in a certain county only if they fix their place of habitation at that location, without any present intention of removing therefrom, and with intent to return thereto. 1982 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 82-83 (decided under former Code Section 21-2-241 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Registration in another state by a serviceman stationed in such state for a special election wherein nonresidents of the category are permitted to register and vote under the laws of such state would not necessarily void registration in Georgia. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U70-103 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-632 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Business address insufficient for residency purposes.

- A business address, in and of itself, does not fulfill the residency requirements of the Election Code, and an otherwise qualified elector may vote in the election district (now precinct) containing the business address only when such district (now precinct) also contains the elector's residence as defined by the Election Code. 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-293 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-632 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 25 Am. Jur. 2d, Elections, § 159 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 29 C.J.S., Elections, § 36 et seq.

ALR.

- Propriety of test or question asked applicant for registration as voter other than formal questions relating to specific conditions of his right to registration, 76 A.L.R. 1238.

Voting by persons in the military service, 155 A.L.R. 1459.

Effect of conviction under federal law, or law of another state or country, on right to vote or hold public office, 39 A.L.R.3d 303.

Validity of residency and precinct-specific requirements of state voter registration statutes, 57 A.L.R. 6th 419.

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