2014 GE­OR­GIA LEG­IS­LA­TURE

The Covington News - - OBITUARIES - DOUG HOLT SPE­CIAL TO THE NEWS

Ge­or­gia’s 2014 leg­isla­tive ses­sion be­gan smoothly last week, but moved at an ac­cel­er­ated pace. The rea­son for the faster pace is a change in the elec­tions cal­en­dar. Last year, a fed­eral court ruled that Ge­or­gia needed to bet­ter ac­com­mo­date over­seas and mil­i­tary vot­ers by hold­ing an ear­lier pri­mary. The con­cern was that the ex­ist­ing sched­ule, in which pri­maries are held in late July, didn’t pro­vide enough time for the re­turn of those votes – es­pe­cially if a pri­mary runoff was re­quired. Think­ing back to my ser­vice on the Newton County Board of Elec­tions, I see the rea­son for the con­cern. This is a change we need to make.

While the court de­ci­sion only af­fected the pri­mary for fed­eral of­fices, it none­the­less forces a change to the pri­mary for all of­fices in the state dur­ing even num­bered years. Hav­ing two sep­a­rate elec­tion sched­ules would be need­lessly con­fus­ing to vot­ers, and would also im­pose sig­nif­i­cant, un­nec­es­sary ex­tra costs on coun­ties and cities. Thus we took the un­usual step of pass­ing a bill dur­ing the first week of the ses­sion. The bill in ques­tion was HB 310, which will move the

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