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Confused about March and May elections and how to cast your ballot? Here’s an explainer
0407 ELEX
Voters are being mailed applications to vote absentee in the May 19, 2020, primary. - photo by Shannon Casas

Update, April 9: The primary scheduled for May 19, which also included the primary and special election originally scheduled for March 24, is now postponed to June 9.

Applications for absentee ballots have been sent to registered voters for the May 19 general primary, which now also includes the presidential preference primary and special election in Hall County originally scheduled for March 24.

For those who voted early in March, you will not vote on those items again in May, but there are several more races on the ballot. 

The May general primary includes races for several county, state and federal government positions, including two seats on the Hall County Board of Commissioners, the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and Hall County’s delegation in the Georgia General Assembly. 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a March press conference that ballots cast in March will be counted with the other ballots cast in May.

“If you voted early, your vote counts and will be counted with the other votes cast in May,” Raffensperger said. “... Because of the digital system, we are able to easily provide personalized ballots to those who voted early and those who haven’t.”

For those who did not vote before the March 24 primary and special election were postponed as officials monitored the spread of COVID-19, you will be able to vote on those items in May. Those items include a special purpose local option sales tax for education, bond referendums for Hall and Gainesville school systems and the presidential preference primary.

Both the presidential preference primary and general primary are partisan elections, with voters selecting a specific party’s ballot.  Raffensperger said voters will be able to select one party’s ballot for the presidential preference primary and another party’s ballot for the general primary, if they would prefer. 

County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said people who voted in March will not be able to return in May and change their previous votes. Ballots cast in March will be kept in a secure area of the county’s elections office for counting in May.

Every registered Georgia voter will be mailed an absentee ballot request form to be returned if they would prefer to vote by mail in the May primary. Any voter can request an absentee ballot for any reason. If you have not received your form, the application is available on Hall County’s website. Residents can register to vote through April 20. 

Early voting is set to begin April 27. If you request an absentee ballot and decide not to use it, or if you would prefer to go to the polls, you can still vote in-person. 

Polling places will be provided with extra sanitation supplies, and poll workers will be trained to ensure social distancing is practiced.