Happening today: Early voting begins for primary election
Three-week early voting period runs through May 20
The three-week early voting period is set to open on Monday for the May 24 primary election.
Primaries on the ballot include races for Governor, U.S. Senate, Secretary of State and every statewide constitutional office. Voters will also choose nominees for congressional and state legislative contests.
The primary will mark the first big test of Georgia’s 2021 election overhaul, which made several changes to early in-person and absentee voting.
The minimum early voting hours are set at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and counties can offer up to 12 hours of daily early voting, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In previous elections, early voting times were required “during normal business hours,” but those hours weren’t defined.
The new state law also adds an additional Saturday of early voting.
Absentee ballots were also significantly impacted by the new law. Voters must now provide a photo identification when requesting an absentee ballot. Dropboxes have also been limited to one per every 100,000 active voters in a county, and they must now be located inside of polling precincts. They also cannot be used outside of voting hours.
With several candidates running in many of these primary elections, it is quite likely that both parties will have to hold runoff elections. Another part of the law also shortens the length of runoff campaigns. Runoffs are now to be held four weeks after the primary election, rather than the previous nine-week gap between the two elections.
Georgia has what is known as “open primary elections,” which means you do not have to be registered with a political party in order to vote in a primary. In other words, you are able to request your choice of either a Democratic or a Republican ballot when you arrive at your polling place.
Early voting ends May 20.