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Special election moved to May 11

Perdue wants time for overseas troops to vote

POSTED: March 24, 2010 11:25 p.m.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has pushed back the date of a special election that will fill Georgia’s vacant 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and two other vacancies under the Gold Dome.

The election will now be held May 11.

Perdue originally set an April 27 date for a special election to fill vacancies left by gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, former state Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, and former state Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger.

Deal resigned Sunday from Congress to focus on his quest for the Republican nomination for governor. Hawkins and Graves, who had already been campaigning in the race to be the next 9th District representative, followed suit to qualify in the race to complete Deal’s unexpired term.

Hawkins represented all of Hall County and parts of Jackson County as the senator for state Senate District 49. Graves represented portions of Gordon and Pickens counties as the representative for Georgia House District 12.

Both resigned Tuesday so that the special election to fill their former seats in the Statehouse could be held on the same day as the special election to fill Deal’s vacancy.

The effort was aimed at saving local governments the expense of holding two special elections in what is already a big election year.

Hours after issuing the writ of election for the April 27 election, Perdue rescinded it, opting instead for the May 11 date.

Although calls to the governor’s office were not returned Wednesday, a news release from Perdue’s office said the decision would give overseas military personnel enough time to vote in the election.

“Secretary of State Brian Kemp contacted Governor Perdue today and expressed concern that there would not be enough time to get ballots returned from military members stationed overseas,” the release stated. “Moving the election back two weeks would allow more time for the ballots to be printed, mailed out and returned.”

The qualifying period for candidates wishing to run in any of the three special elections will remain March 29 through March 31.

If needed, runoff elections for all three posts will be June 8.



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