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Ballot questions await many voters Tuesday | Politics

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Ballot questions await many voters Tuesday
Ballot questions await many voters Tuesday

If you vote in Georgia's state primary on Tuesday, you'll do more than choose among candidates.

You'll probably also be looking at some ballot questions, on topics ranging from SPLOSTs to Sunday alcohol sales to Georgia's minimum wage and its stand-your-ground law.

But all that will depend on where you live and which party primary you vote in.

And some of those questions are binding votes, and others are just straw polls to measure public opinion.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

So here's the breakdown:

If you live in Jones County, or Twiggs County, you'll vote on a SPLOST question. If you vote yes, you're voting to extend a 1-cent sales tax to pay for local projects. The Twiggs SPLOST will pay for school improvements. In Jones County, the money will pay for things like improvements to the water system, the library and animal shelter, and for new public safety vehicles.

And if you vote in Peach County and Macon County, you'll decide ballot questions on allowing Sunday alcohol package sales. Those questions cover only the unincorporated county areas, outside city limits.

Those four questions are all binding. But some other questions on various county ballots are not.

If you take the Democratic ballot, you'll see four questions that appear statewide.

  • One asks if Georgia's minimum wage should be raised above $5.15.
  • Another asks whether the state should expand Medicaid coverage, as called for under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Democratic voters will also be asked whether to create an independent state ethics commission, outside the governor's authority.
  • And there's a question on whether Georgia's constitution should be amended to make education the state's top funding priority.

Again, those questions are just to measure public opinion. Voting yes will not raise the state's minimum wage or change state law.

Houston County Democrats will vote on two more non-binding questions.

One asks if voters want to repeal Georgia's stand your ground law and "return to the settled common law on self defense."

Another asks if voters want to amend the law instead to "remove ambiguity" and restore the duty to retreat outside someone's home or place of business.

Hancock County Republicans put up three questions of their own.

  • They're asking fellow Republicans there if senior citizens in the county should be exempt from paying the school district property tax;
  • whether the county should merge the magistrate judge and probate judge jobs into one position, which would be elected statewide;
  • and whether Hancock's school superintendent should be elected, rather than appointed.

In Twiggs County, Republicans are talking about ambulances. Their question asks whether people want to raise the millage rate, to pay for a countywide ambulance service.

Those Houston, Hancock and Twiggs questions are also just straw polls.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the races and the questions in your county, you can go to the Georgia Secretary of State's voter page to see a sample ballot.

And if you have questions about voting hours and polling places where you live, you can contact your local board of elections.


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