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Although Georgia’s presidential preference primary has been moved from March 24 to May 19, people who already voted early for the March 24 election will not have to return to the polls in May for items on the ballots in March.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a press conference Monday that ballots already cast in March will be securely stored until May, when they will be counted. The state’s new voting system is equipped to provide customized ballots in May, he said.
“I cannot stress this enough. 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.”
People who voted in March will still be able to vote in May on the other items, Raffensperger said.Items on the ballot in May will include primaries for several county, state and federal government positions.
In Hall County, the E-SPLOST and school bond ballot items, which had been on the ballot for the March 24 election, will now be up for a vote May 19, county spokeswoman Katie Crumley said Monday. Ballots already cast in March will be kept in a secured area of the county elections office, she said.
Both the presidential preference primary and general primary are partisan elections, with voters selecting a ballot based on party for many of the items. 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.
The Georgia presidential preference primary is one of many public events delayed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We did not make this decision lightly. We are joined by a number of states who have delayed upcoming elections following the spread of COVID-19,” Raffensperger said.
The Secretary of State’s Office is looking at its absentee ballot program, which would allow voters to cast their ballots from home, Raffensperger said.
Crumley said Monday that about 25 poll workers in Hall had decided to leave their positions before the primary was postponed. Janine Eveler, Cobb County's elections director, said at Monday's press conference that Cobb had been losing poll workers who were concerned for their health.