A North Georgia federal judge has reset next year’s election calendar, and elections officials, state lawmakers and other politicians are pondering the impact the decision will have. As it stands now, there would be a federal primary in early June 2014 that includes the congressional races. In the middle of July, the state primary would be held for all General Assembly seats and other state and judicial offices on the ballot. In Muscogee County, it would also include the nonpartisan races, such as mayor, five Columbus council seats and five school board seats. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones’ ruling came after the federal government filed suit more than a year ago against the state, alleging Georgia wasn’t allowing enough time for members of the military and others living overseas to return absentee ballots in federal runoff elections.
The state has two primary options, one being to appeal the decision and the other would be for the General Assembly to act early next year to consolidate the two primaries, thus moving the state one up.
“At this time, the election for state and local candidates will remain in July unless there is legislative action in the next session,” said Muscogee County Director of Elections and Registration Nancy Boren. “This will pose many
budgetary and logistical challenges if we are required to conduct a federal candidate primary in June and a state/local primary in July.”