What you need to know about declaring your political party for Ga.'s primary

Voting
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, July 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A lot of people are still on the fence about who to vote for.

And, perhaps the biggest headache for a lot of folks out there, isn't just who to vote for, but which party to choose.

Lynn Bailey, the director of elections in Richmond County says, "This is a primary, so you do have to choose one party or the other."

Making that party choice has a lot of voters, like Jeff Futrelle, frustrated.

"It's a hard choice because I would like to vote for the people that I know are going to be right for the job, but in this case I won't be able to," he told News 12's Laura Warren.

Futrelle typically votes Republican, but he is switching teams for the sake of the sheriff's race.

"It's not a good political system when you have people that are willing to switch parties to another party in order to vote for the sheriff's race, in this case, and abandon their own political party," Futrelle said.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp was in Augusta Monday to speak to the Rotary Club.

"I know it's frustrating for people, but that's just the way the laws are in Georgia and that's what we follow," he said.

Kemp's office is in charge of elections for Georgia.

He says, "Our primaries are run by the parties, now anyone that doesn't want to vote a Republican or Democratic ballot, they can go vote tomorrow and vote a non-partisan ballot."

If you choose to vote non-partisan, your ballot will only have the non-partisan races, like the judge races and TSPLOST. And whether you choose a Democrat ballot, a Republican ballot or a non-partisan ballot, you will be bound to that choice if there is a runoff election.

"The runoff is simply a continuation of the initial election, so if we have a runoff, you would have to stick with that party's run off all the way through," Bailey said.

But, it's important to remember your party choice in this primary does not affect your choice in the general election.

"In November, you can mix it up anyway you want. You can vote for a Democrat here and a Republican there and mix it up all over the place," Bailey said.

If there is a runoff election, it will be held Aug. 21.

To see a sample ballot, click here.