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Some in Ga. GOP want closed primaries after Trump’s picks lose

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 11:26 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 8:14 PM EDT
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ATLANTA - Some Republican activists are calling on abolishing Georgia’s open primary system.

They’re complaining that too many Democrats voted in the state’s Republican primary against candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The call to close primaries comes after The Associated Press found more than 37,000 people who voted in Georgia’s 2020 Democratic primary crossed over to cast ballots in the May 24 Republican primary.

The five statewide GOP incumbents Trump had targeted for defeat ended up winning their primary elections.

Like 14 other states, Georgia does not register voters by party. You don’t have to formally choose a party to vote in the primary. You can choose a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot.

Political analyst Mark Rountree said the crossover vote is a real, but most voters don’t do it.

“It’s 7.6%,” he said. “That might have been enough to help someone like Raffensperger clear the 50-percent margin, that is true. But most people are not crossing over between the parties in Georgia.  We have two very stark ideologies between the two parties here.”

The proposal to close Georgia’s primary system and not allow voters to choose the political party of their choice on primary election day is likely to face heavy opposition.

“Some political parties like the idea of a closed primary because it sort of purifies the party itself.  It purifies it ideologically. The downside is it reduces the number of people voting in the primaries,” Rountree said.

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