Georgia County Government - July 2010 - (Page 27)

Counties&theLaw Primaries and Elections Here’s a review of protocols governing primaries and elections in Georgia, in anticipation of the upcoming election season. By Kelly J. L. Pridgen, Assistant General Counsel I t is primary and general election season again in Georgia. While the voter registrar and the election superintendent are in charge of getting voters registered and running the election, there are several laws surrounding primaries and elections of which county commissioners and county attorneys may want to take note. The primary is an election held to elect candidates in partisan offices (e.g., county commissioners and constitutional officers) to represent a political party in the general election. The winners of the primary then run in the general election. There are no primaries in Georgia for non-partisan offices, such as superior court judges (see, O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-138 and 21-2-139). While primaries are different than general elections, many of the rules governing primaries and general elections are the same. Campaign Activity on County Property There are special laws regarding campaign activities on county property. It is a crime to place posters, signs or advertisements on any public property or building without the permission of the owner or occupier of the building (O.C.G.A. § 16-7-58(a)(1)). No county may directly or indirectly contribute to a campaign or candidate (O.C.G.A. § 21-5-30.2(b)). However, counties may still furnish office space, equipment, goods, etc. to a public officer for use in the fulfillment of their office. Additionally, counties may allow the use of public meeting places by political organizations if the meeting place is made available to different political organizations on an equal basis (O.C.G.A. § 21-5-30.2). Signs within the road rights of way are only permitted if they are otherwise authorized by law (O.C.G.A. § 16-7-58(a)(a), 32-6-50 and 32-6-51(a)). occur in the polling place, within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building where voting is occurring or within 25 feet of any voter in line to vote at a polling place (O.C.G.A. § 21-2414). This 150 foot requirement may be problematic during early/advance voting at the courthouse and other locations where vehicles containing campaign signs may be parked in the regular course of business. Alcoholic Beverages on Election Day On primary and election days, it is a misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages within 250 feet of any polling place or the outer edge of any building that contains a polling place (O.C.G.A. § 3-3-20(b)(3)). Additionally, counties may adopt ordinances prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages during the time that the polls are open on Election Day (O.C.G.A. § 3-3-20(b)). THE LAW continued on page 28 JULY 2010 Campaign Activity During Voting There are special laws regarding campaign activities during early/advance voting and on Election Day at polling places. No campaign activities or public opinion polling may 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - July 2010

Georgia County Government - July 2010
President’s Message
Paulding County Takes Off
Seatbelt Usage Remains a Key Safety Issue in Counties
Military and 4-H Partnerships Extend Services to Georgia Military Families
Counties & the Law: Primaries and Elections
ACCG Renews Partnership with The Conservation Fund
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - July 2010