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May 03

Different Ballots, Same Primary

Posted on May 3, 2022 at 7:12 PM by Christina Redden

primary ballot choices graphic

Different Ballots, Same Primary

The May 24, 2022 General Primary is almost here and early voting has already begun.  Whether you vote in person or by mail, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is: which ballot do you wish to receive?  It can be a little confusing because you frequently receive the same ballot as everybody else and may not be expecting a choice.

So, what does it mean to choose a ballot in a primary?

A General Primary is three different elections happening at the same time:  the Democratic Primary, the Republican Primary, and the Nonpartisan election.  Each has its own ballot.  Primary ballots are how each party determines who will be their final candidates in November.   This is for offices such as Senators, Governors, and Commissioners.  

Nonpartisan ballots determine the final winner in races which do not involve parties.  These are offices such as Judges and Joint Water and Sewer.  All ballots include the Nonpartisan races, but the Nonpartisan ballot does not include the party races or questions.

If you choose a party ballot, does that make you a member of that party?

No, we do not register voters by party or track your political affiliation.  Georgia has “open” primaries.  Each time you vote in a primary, you are given the option of a Democrat, Republican, or Nonpartisan ballot.  No matter which ballot you choose this time, you will be given the choice again in the next primary.  

The only exception is a primary runoff.  In a primary runoff, you are only eligible to vote for the party you selected in the original primary.  A runoff happens 28 days after the first election when no candidate receives over 50% of the vote.  

But, what if you consider yourself an Independent?

If you do not want to choose a party ballot, you have the option of a Nonpartisan ballot.  Please remember, if you select a Nonpartisan ballot you will not be voting on most Federal, State, and Local offices such as Congress and Board of Education.  We recommend you review all three sample ballots before making your final choice when voting.

Sample ballots are available on our website at the link below.  They will also be available at your polling place.  If you vote in person, be sure to double check that your ballot is the correct party and review all your choices before you cast your ballot into the scanner.  A poll worker can help you if you have questions.

Sample ballots are available here: