A North Georgia federal judge has reset next year’s election calendar, and elections officials, state lawmakers and other politicians are pondering the impact the decision will have.
As it stands now, there would be a federal primary in early June 2014 that includes the congressional races. In the middle of July, the state primary would be held for all General Assembly seats and other state and judicial offices on the ballot. In Muscogee County, it would also include the nonpartisan races, such as mayor, five Columbus council seats and five school board seats.
“At this time, the election for state and local candidates will remain in July unless there is legislative action in the next session,” said Muscogee County Director of Elections and Registration Nancy Boren. “This will pose many budgetary and logistical challenges if we are required to conduct a federal candidate primary in June and a state/local primary in July.”
Republican state Sen. Josh McKoon and Democratic state Rep. Calvin Smyre agree that the primaries should not be split.
“There is no question in my mind we are going to have to conduct the state election calendar at the same time as the federal one,” McKoon said. “It would be awfully confusing to voters to show up one day and vote for Congress and show up another day and vote for everything else. The question is do we stick with the federal calendar or develop an alternate calendar.”
“If you have the state and local elections at a separate voting time, it would be confusing and it lengthens the political process,” said Smyre, the dean of the local legislative delegation.