ATLANTA -- Voters weary of campaign ads may be hoping that Tuesday’s balloting means the end of the election season, but it’s really just the midway point.
Many races will indeed be settled as the state becomes increasingly dominated by one party. However, primaries with more than two candidates could wind up in a runoff if no one gets more than half the vote.
The general election matchups won’t be fully determined until after the primary runoffs and the addition of candidates just signing up this week.
Monday began qualifying for third-party candidates and independents. Libertarians, for instance, usually enter candidates in every statewide, partisan contest and have already put forth one for a seat on the Public Service Commission.
As of the end of Monday’s qualifying, none had filed to run, but the period is open to them until Aug. 6.
In addition to the candidates on Tuesday’s statewide primary ballots, the questions are likely to stimulate more debate than they resolve. Only one is binding, a referendum on raising the sales tax 1 percent for the next 10 years to fund various transportation projects in each region.
“The way that the ballot is worded, it gives people the impression that this is a job-creating, economic-development tax,” said Daniel Franklin, a political science professor at Georgia State University.
He said the wording could convince uninformed voters to support it. However, another Georgia State professor, Sean Richey, predicts the uninformed will go the other way.
“The default position for many voters is no,” Richey said. “This can be summed up by the saying, ‘it’s better with the devil you know, than the one you do not.’ This always makes passage harder, and suggests that the large level of confusion over the measure will ensure its downfall.”
History shows that passing a referendum requires putting it on the ballot more than once.
While the other questions are non-binding, they could spark as much debate after Tuesday as before. They range from whether to expand legalized gambling to restricting lobbyists’ gifts, and legislators in January will be the only ones who can put them into action if they’re convinced by the results.