August 20, 2002
Election Law Provides for “Open” Primary, Voters May Select Their Party
Ballot Without Limitation or Restriction
… Media reports last night
and this morning indicate that hundreds of voters in DeKalb County have received
an automated phone message that has caused confusion about who may select which
ballot in the General Primary today.
message implies that voters may be limited in their request for a Democratic
ballot when they arrive at the polls.
many other states, voters in Georgia do not register by party affiliation. At each General Primary, voters may select either a
Democratic, Republican or Nonpartisan Ballot – and that choice is not limited
in any way by the ballots voters have selected in previous elections.
They may, of course, only vote one ballot in this election.
there is no party registration in Georgia, the term “crossing over” is in
fact a misnomer. The selection of a
ballot in previous General Primaries or Primary Runoffs has no effect whatsoever
on the choices available to voters today.
only limitation in ballot selection applies in the Primary Runoff September 10th,
should one be necessary. In that
election, citizens must request the ballot of the same party they selected today
– this is the only restriction in Georgia law against “crossing over.”
voters do not vote at all in today’s General Primary, but choose to
participate in the Primary Runoff three weeks from today, they are not
restricted in the ballot they select at that time.
false information concerning election procedures may constitute a
violation of state law. OCGA
21-2-597 provides that “Any person who intentionally interferes with,
hinders, or delays or attempts to interfere with, hinder or delay any other
person in the performance of any act or duty imposed by this chapter shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor.” In
addition, OCGA 21-2-567 makes the intimidation of voters a felony
Secretary of State’s office has opened an inquiry into the automated phone
messages received by voters in DeKalb County.