Georgia primary ballots survey voters on partisan topics

May 2, 2022 Atlanta: Voters gathered at the Buckhead Library located at 269 Buckhead Ave NE in  Atlanta for early voting on Monday May 2, 2022. Three weeks of early voting began Monday for voters who want to cast their ballots in the Georgia primary before election day on May 24. In-person early voting is usually the most popular way of participating in Georgia elections, providing at least 17 days when voters can pick a time that fits their schedule. About 54% of voters cast ballots in advance during the 2020 presidential election. The primary includes races for Georgia governor, the U.S. Senate, statewide offices and the General Assembly. Early voting locations, hours and sample ballots are available online on the stateÕs My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. The primary might be the first time many voters go to the polls since the General Assembly passed GeorgiaÕs new voting law in March 2021, though some cities held local elections in the fall. Changes to voting laws affect early voting in several ways. 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 Òduring normal business hours,Ó but those hours werenÕt defined. Early voting will also be offered on two Saturdays, and local election offices have the option of providing voting hours on two Sundays as well. Before the law, one Saturday of early voting was required. Early voting is available from May 2 to May 20. All voters also have the option of casting absentee ballots in advance of election day, but the rules have changed. Under GeorgiaÕs voting law, voters can no longer request an absentee ballot online without signing a paper form, meaning theyÕll need access to a printer in most circumstances. A driverÕs license or other form of ID is also required. The stateÕs new absentee ballot request website is securemyabsenteeballot.sos.ga.gov.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is now 11 days before election day, on May 13 for the primary, and completed ballots must be received at local election offices before polls close. Voters can return absentee ballots through the mail or in drop boxes, but fewer ballot drop boxes are available this year, and there wonÕt be an option during the final days of the election. GeorgiaÕs voting law prohibits drop boxes from being used except during early voting hours, and they can only be located inside early voting locations. The number of drop boxes in each county is capped at one for every 100,000 active voters or the number of early voting locations, whichever is lower. Every county must install at least one drop box. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
May 2, 2022 Atlanta: Voters gathered at the Buckhead Library located at 269 Buckhead Ave NE in Atlanta for early voting on Monday May 2, 2022. Three weeks of early voting began Monday for voters who want to cast their ballots in the Georgia primary before election day on May 24. In-person early voting is usually the most popular way of participating in Georgia elections, providing at least 17 days when voters can pick a time that fits their schedule. About 54% of voters cast ballots in advance during the 2020 presidential election. The primary includes races for Georgia governor, the U.S. Senate, statewide offices and the General Assembly. Early voting locations, hours and sample ballots are available online on the stateÕs My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. The primary might be the first time many voters go to the polls since the General Assembly passed GeorgiaÕs new voting law in March 2021, though some cities held local elections in the fall. Changes to voting laws affect early voting in several ways. 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 Òduring normal business hours,Ó but those hours werenÕt defined. Early voting will also be offered on two Saturdays, and local election offices have the option of providing voting hours on two Sundays as well. Before the law, one Saturday of early voting was required. Early voting is available from May 2 to May 20. All voters also have the option of casting absentee ballots in advance of election day, but the rules have changed. Under GeorgiaÕs voting law, voters can no longer request an absentee ballot online without signing a paper form, meaning theyÕll need access to a printer in most circumstances. A driverÕs license or other form of ID is also required. The stateÕs new absentee ballot request website is securemyabsenteeballot.sos.ga.gov. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is now 11 days before election day, on May 13 for the primary, and completed ballots must be received at local election offices before polls close. Voters can return absentee ballots through the mail or in drop boxes, but fewer ballot drop boxes are available this year, and there wonÕt be an option during the final days of the election. GeorgiaÕs voting law prohibits drop boxes from being used except during early voting hours, and they can only be located inside early voting locations. The number of drop boxes in each county is capped at one for every 100,000 active voters or the number of early voting locations, whichever is lower. Every county must install at least one drop box. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Ballot questions don’t change state law

Ballots in Georgia’s primary election include survey questions on topics such as securing the U.S. border and forgiving student loan debt.

Both political parties put nonbinding advisory questions on primary election ballots to gauge popular opinion, gaining information that could inform party priorities and messaging. The results of the questions don’t change state laws or carry any legal weight.

They also are worded in such a way that the parties generally get the answer they are looking for.

There are eight statewide questions on Republican ballots and nine questions on Democratic ballots. Some local political parties added extra questions. Early voting is underway before election day on Tuesday.

Republican ballots ask voters about creating a city of Buckhead, political speech on social media, ballot drop boxes and whether to ban transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports.

Democratic ballots highlight questions about Medicaid expansion, universal pre-K, allowing voter registration at polling places and marijuana legalization.

Voters can view a full list of each party’s ballot questions on their sample ballots, which are available online through the My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Party ballot question topics in the Georgia primary

Democratic Party

  1. Student loan debt forgiveness
  2. Paid parental leave
  3. Free pre-K
  4. Direct voter petition to place questions on the ballot
  5. Expanded child tax credit for families earning less than $150,000
  6. Medicaid expansion
  7. Increase early voting, allow voter registration at polling places and expand drop boxes
  8. Marijuana legalization
  9. Incentives for renewable energy sources

Republican Party

  1. Securing the border
  2. Public education money for private and charter schools
  3. Political campaign speech rules for social media
  4. Work visa requirements
  5. Transgender sports rules
  6. Ballot tampering enforcement
  7. Drop box ban
  8. Buckhead cityhood