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Elections

This guide contains information about American and international governments and elections.

Find Federal and State Laws

 

What Does the Law Say?

Many secondary sources will claim to say, "the law says..." or "according to Georgia state law...." How can we find out what the law actually says? Below are resources to find out what the law actually says. However, many legal experts, lawmakers, and judges interpret the law in different ways and will publish their opinions. This is one example of why it is important to know the difference between primary and secondary sources. 

usa.gov

One of the first official government websites you should head to is usa.gov. This is the official website of The United States Government. It will take you to a wealth of information about the government. You will also be able to find how to obtain official state and local information. If you scroll down this box, you will find a short tutorial on how to find Georgia's state laws, which can be applied to other local and state governments as well. 

It should also be noted that the official laws and government information produced will almost always have the '.gov' domain extension. To know who is publishing the information, look at the 'About...' link. The 'About..." will tell you if it is the U.S. government publishing it, or another organization or person. 

 
 

Federal Law

The United States Congress - congress.gov

  • Congress.gov will allow you to search for legislation and the status of legislation. It often provides helpful links to other government sites when appropriate. You can also search for laws from the current congress and past congresses. 

  • About Congress.gov - "Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public. It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC's Congressional Research Service."

The U.S. House of Representatives - House.gov

  • The House Floor - Find all the activity in the House of Representatives. It provides a daily calendar you can search through or by keyword to find more specific legislative activity. You can also look at the status of legislation to know if a specific bill has passed, failed, or stalled in the process. 

  • Representatives - A directory of all of the members of the House of Representatives. This page also contains extensive primary source information about the House, its role in government, and many other helpful links. 

The U.S. Senate

  • Legislation & Records - The U.S. Senate - Senate.gov

  • Senators - A directory of all of the senators. This page also contains extensive primary source information about the Senate, its role in government, and many other helpful links. 

 

United States State and Territory Laws

Usa.gov provides a directory that will take you to any state or territory's official government website. From there, you will have access to a lot of official information including contact information, names of the governor and other officials, and links to many of the state government agencies. To find the state laws, each state will have the link location in a different place. However, it is typically very intuitive to find. 

Finding State Laws

  • Go to usa.gov
  • Select 'Government Agencies and Elected Officials' 

A screenshot from usa.gov guiding users to click on 'Government Agencies and Elected Officials

From usa.gov showing user to select State, Local and Tribal Governments

From usa.gov, a screenshot guiding user to click on either state governments or local governments.

  • Once you arrive at the next page, select the state you are looking for. In this photo, we would be looking for government information about Georgia. 

A screenshot from usa.gov showing the dropdown menu selecting Georgia to be taken to its official government information site.

  • The next page will be usa.gov's homepage for the state information it has in its directory. Every state will have its official laws in a different place on its website. Typically, you will find state laws, statutes, and codes on the state Attorney General's website. 

For Example: Finding Georgia's State Laws

  • Go to usa.gov
  • Select 'Government Agencies and Elected Officials' 

A screenshot from usa.gov guiding users to click on 'Government Agencies and Elected Officials

From usa.gov showing user to select State, Local and Tribal Governments

​​​​​​​From usa.gov, a screenshot guiding user to click on either state governments or local governments.

  • Select Georgia from the dropdown menu

A screenshot from usa.gov showing the dropdown menu selecting Georgia to be taken to its official government information site.

  • You will be taken to the usa.gov homepage for Georgia government information. 

A screenshot of the Georgia government information homepage of usa.gov.

  • Scroll down to the State Agencies section of the page and select the 'Attorney General' link.

A screenshot of the state agency section of the Georgia government information homepage of usa.gov.

  • Once you arrive at the homepage of the Office of the Attorney General, click on 'Resources' on the top menu bar. 

​​​​​​​From usa.gov, a screenshot guiding the user to click on the resources link.

​​​​​​​From usa.gov, a screenshot guiding users to click on Legal Resources from the dropdown mneu.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​From the Georgia Attorney General's website, a screenshot guiding users to click on Official Code of Georgia Annotated link to be taken to Georgia's state laws.

Election Laws and Rules By State

Congressional Hearings

 

FDsys is a database published by the Government Publications Office (GPO). Its coverage is from 1997 to the present. 

Tips for searching more efficiently for Congressional Hearing Information: 

Searching For a Witness:

  1. Select the Advanced Search link
  2. Click on "Congressional Hearings"  from the left pane.
  3. Click the "Add >>" button to add it to the "Selection Collections" pane.
  4. When the screen refreshes, click the drop-down menu, "Search in:" and select "Witness." 
  5. Enter her name in the "for" search box and select "Search"

For Presidential Documents That May Contain Information about a specific person:

  1. Select the Advanced Search link from the FDsys homepage.
  2. Select "Compilation of Presidential Documents."
  3. Click the "Add >>" button to add it to the "Selection Collections" pane.
  4. When the screen refreshes, click on the drop-down menu, "Full-Text of Publications and Metadata."
  5. Enter her name in the "for" search box and select "Search"
  6. To narrow down the number of results, use the links on the left-hand side of the page to select specific dates, events, etc. 

For Other Congressional Hearing information Related to A Specific Person:

  1. Follow the steps listed above. When you arrive at step 5, click one, some, or all of the following selections:
  2. Congressional Documents
  3. Congressional Hearings
  4. Congressional Reports
  5. Or any of the selections you think might be helpful and click "Add>>" to the right selection pane. 
  6. Select  "Full-Text of Publications and Metadata" and click search.

PRO TIPS:

  • Narrow the number of search results by using the limiters on the left. Select specific dates, events, etc.
  • Experiment with additional search terms.
  • Play around with the different options in the advanced search feature. You never know what you might find!