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5:14 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

2014 Senate Primary to Be Earliest in Georgia's History

Next year, Georgia’s U.S. Senate primary will be the earliest in the state’s history. A federal judge has agreed to let officials move the election from mid-July to May 20. 

Listen to the broadcast version of this story.

Judge Steve C. Jones originally requested the primary be moved to June 3. But Secretary of State Brian Kemp says that would’ve meant polls had to open the Saturday before Memorial Day.

“Logistically for the county elections people, that was just kind of a nightmare scenario," Kemp says. "They’re going to have to be working that weekend manning offices, and then you’re not going to have very strong voter turnout at all.”

Credit gavoter

The date change is in response to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Kemp’s office. The lawsuit claims Georgia’s July date didn’t allow a 45-day window for the return of overseas ballots before a potential runoff, as required by federal law.

Kemp says the next step will likely be syncing Georgia’s election calendar with the federal one.

“We can’t be holding two primaries," he says. "That would be very confusing for the voters. It would be very expensive for the taxpayers and it’s just a logistical nightmare for our office.”  

That will require the approval of the General Assembly and the governor.