- Parent Category: Administration
- Last Updated on 22 February 2012
- Published on 10 February 2012
- Hits: 2360
In Georgia, there are multiple Political Parties which a voter has the option to join (as long as he or she follows the Party’s rules); however, there is no requirement to declare which Party you belong to at the time you register to vote. For more information about the Political Parties in Bartow County including their contact information and bylaws, please visit the Party Information Page of this website.
Primary Elections occur every two years prior to the General Election for the purpose of choosing which candidate a party will place on the General Election Ballot. To understand this process you must first understand how a candidate is placed onto the ballot. Prior to every election cycle, there is a Qualifying Period during which time any registered voter who wishes to run for a political office “Qualifies” for that office. There are two different ways this is accomplished. If the prospective candidate wishes to run as part of a Political Party, he or she would qualify through their chosen party. If he or she does not want to run as part of a Political Party, he or she would qualify through the Bartow County Board of Elections Office and run as an Independent Candidate. For more information on the requirements to run for a political office and how to qualify to be placed onto the ballot, please visit the Qualifying section of this website.
Each Political Party is only allowed to place one candidate on the General Election Ballot for any one Political Office. So, if a Party has more than one person qualify for any particular office, they have to choose which one will be placed onto the General Election Ballot. This is where Primary Elections come into play. Their sole purpose is to nominate one candidate for the General Election for that party. The only time that a candidate is actually elected to office through a Primary Election is if the Party’s Nominee has no opposition during the General Election, in which case the candidate would win by default.
According to Georgia’s Election Code only two Political Parties are able to conduct Primary Elections through the County’s Elections Office. The Party that received the most votes for Governor in the last Gubernatorial Election, and the Party which received the second most votes for Governor in the last Gubernatorial Election. In recent memory this has always been the Democratic and Republican Parties. These two Primary Elections occur on the same date and time; however they are considered to be separate and apart from each other.
Georgia has what is commonly referred to as an Open Primary System. This means that a voter does not have to be a member of a Political Party in order to vote in that Party’s Primary Election. He or she only has to declare their allegiance for the party at the time that he or she requests a ballot. This allegiance may be changed for different Election Cycles as the voter sees fit.
However, because the voter has declared allegiance (at least temporarily) to one party, and because the two Primaries are considered to be separate and apart from each other, a voter may not vote in both Parties’ Primaries. In practical terms, this means that if a voter will not be able to vote for both a Republican and Democratic Candidate in the same Primary Election Cycle. This is perfectly acceptable during a General Election, just not for a Primary.