All local races should be non-partisan

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This past Tuesday, we all had the opportunity to participate in the greatest privilege we have as American citizens — the right to vote. However, because of Georgia’s flawed primary system, not all ballots were created equal.

Because of the primary system in Georgia, voters must choose between a Republican ballot, a Democratic ballot, or an “independent” ballot, when they go to the polls in a primary election.

As a result, voters who chose a Democratic ballot were able to vote in the local races, which featured only Democratic candidates in the sheriff’s race and two Board of Commissioners races. However, they were not allowed to vote for a Republican candidate — either Rick Allen, Ken DeLoach, or John House — to face current 2nd District U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop, a Democrat, in the upcoming November general election.

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It is simply nonsensical for the ballot to be designed in this way. First, conservative voters in Decatur County were unable to vote in the U.S. House race, if they wanted to also have a say in their local county races. Secondly, it allows pro-Sanford Bishop voters to skew the primary results, by requesting a Republican ballot and purposefully choosing the “weakest” of the three GOP candidates.

The Democratic and Republican monikers have virtually no difference when it comes to local races. Already, school board races are non-partisan, allowing all voters to participate in their elections. It’s time for the Georgia General Assembly to consider making all local races non-partisan, as well.