Voters are split over ballots in primaries

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Georgia voters going to polls this month can choose a slate of Republicans or a slate of Democrats, but they can't do both, and the limitations of a split ballot primary is raising questions, said Lynn Bailey, executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.

"I would say 1 in 20 people come in asking to look at both ballots," she said Thursday. "The rule is in the primaries voters can only vote for one party or the other."

This year's state Senate District 22 race and Congressional District 10 race have caused the most controversy, Mrs. Bailey said. Incumbent Ed Tarver is facing a challenge from former Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams in the state Senate race. Both are Democrats.

Likewise, an interesting congressional race between U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and state Rep. Barry Fleming is featured on the Republican ballot. Democrats only have one choice -- Bobby Saxon.

About 25 percent of the 1,800 people who voted so far this primary season have been torn by the partisan ballots, she said.

"It seems to be a struggle for them to make the choice on which ballot to choose, because of these races," she said. "We've got some good races, and some of them want to vote both ways."

She also said some voters were uncertain if they could vote in the Senate race and were unsure of the district boundaries.

Jonathan Taylor, 26, said a combined ballot would have been nice when he voted Wednesday. Though he is a staunch Republican, he said, he wanted to cast his vote for Richmond County tax commissioner.

"I really wanted to vote for Tommy Boyles, but he wasn't on my ballot," he said.

Frances Lamar, 56, said Board of Elections attendants should inform people that their split ballots might keep them from voting in certain races.

"I suspect it's not legal to change the way they do the primaries, but they should tell people beforehand," she said.

Early voting continues today at select locations. The traditional vote takes place statewide Tuesday.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.


DEMOCRATS

SENATE DISTRICT 22

NAME: Ed Tarver (incumbent)

AGE: 48

OCCUPATION: Attorney with Augusta Law Firm of Hull, Towill, Norman, Barrett & Salley

EDUCATION: Graduate of Glenn Hills High School; bachelor's degree from Augusta State University; J.D. from University of Georgia School of Law

POLITICAL BACKGROUND: 2005, won special election to complete the unexpired term of former Sen. Charles Walker

NAME: Marion Williams

AGE: 60

OCCUPATION: Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church

EDUCATION: Completed high school; attended seminary

POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Eight years on the Augusta Commission

REPUBLICANS

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 10

NAME: Paul Broun (incumbent)

AGE: 62

OCCUPATION: Family doctor

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree from University of Georgia; medical degree from Medical College of Georgia

POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Won special election (in a runoff) to complete the unexpired term of the late Charlie Norwood in July 2007


NAME: Barry Fleming

AGE: 43

OCCUPATION: Partner in law firm of Fulcher Hagler in Augusta

EDUCATION: Bachelor's and law degrees from University of Georgia

POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Columbia County Board of Commissioners; Georgia House of Representatives (elected majority whip)

Comments (10) Add comment
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Two Cents Worth
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Two Cents Worth 07/11/08 - 05:30 am
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What would prevent you from

What would prevent you from writing in your candidates name?

stadry
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stadry 07/11/08 - 06:51 am
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what is so difficult about

what is so difficult about realizing the primaries are for each party & election boards ONLY conduct the balloting ? ? ? are our voters that ignorant or stupid ? ? ?

truthneedstobetold
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truthneedstobetold 07/11/08 - 07:50 am
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The Congressional race is

The Congressional race is seriouly a no brainer. I honestly can't believe anyone with an IQ over 2 would vote for Broun and I can't believe anyone would call facts and voting records dirty politics.Broun's voting record is factual and his fidicary irrisponsibilty is on record, his lack of morals is on the record. Recently he abused approx 1 million dollars of the tax payers money to compensate for his inability to manage campaign finances. He had one of his BOGUS polls operating last week. The recorded survey stated it was a congressional candidate survey and if you wanted to vote for Broun push #1, Flemig Push #2 and Saxon push #3. Well when you push anything but Broun it tells you that isn't an option. He has decieved people with his so called polls for months--Wake up people!!!!!!!I hope the voters aren't that stupid.

LittleLady
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LittleLady 07/11/08 - 08:00 am
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Stadry, I am afraid some

Stadry, I am afraid some voters are ignorant about primary rules and many other important issues. Citizens... your are loosing your bearing on making your case with a cool head. The problem with your candidate is that he does not tell the whole truth. He takes a small part of the bills that he likes and ignors all the wasteful spending and liberal agenda attached the bill that would be a net loss for the taxpayers.

rbk
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rbk 07/11/08 - 08:42 am
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Stadry, I resent being called

Stadry, I resent being called ignorant or stupid, maybe you speak for yourself. I should be allowed to vote for the candidate of my choice regardless of party affiliation. As was previously stated, some of the offices only have candidates from one party running and I resent not being allowed to choose which of those I want, because I had to take the other party's ballot so I could vote for the candidates of my choice on that party's ballot. With computerized voting, there is no reason under the sun why the computer couldn't show all the candidates and after you selected one candidate for a particular office, block you from voting for another candidate from the other party for that same office. The parties have too much control over the primaries. Although I am mainly a conservative, there are occasions when I want to vote for a candidate in the other party.

rbk
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rbk 07/11/08 - 08:54 am
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LittleLady, you are right on

LittleLady, you are right on about the race between Fleming and Brown. I see Fleming as a slick lawyer who takes a few half truths and twists them around with a lot of legal mumbo jumbo to confuse people and make them think the truth is something other than what it is. Just take a look at the web site Fleming was promoting in his ad that supposedly tells how Broun voted the wrong way on different things. It is the biggest mumbo jumbo I ever saw. If I hadn't already been for Broun before voting, I certainly would have been after seeing Fleming's negative ads. Negative campaigning always turns me off. It makes me think they are trying to cover for their own faults by calling attention to someone else's.

rbk
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rbk 07/11/08 - 08:56 am
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I voted yesterday and was not

I voted yesterday and was not allowed to park in the parking lot in front of the poling place because I had candidates bumper stickers on my car. I had to park in a lot on the other side of a ditch. The sign actually said I was not allowed to drive into the parking lot at all, but I broke the rules and drove in and dropped off my disabled wife, then parked in the other lot and walked over to vote, then went back and got the car and broke the rule again by driving in to pick up my wife. I know that candidates and their staff are not and never have been allowed to stand with placards or hand out campaign materials within so many feet of a polling place, but I never before heard of ordinary voters not being able to park there if they had a campaign bumper sticker. The sign also said no one could wear a T-shirt with a candidates name on it in the poling place. Is that a new law, or is it just another one of Lincoln County’s stupid rules? I can understand not allowing active campaigning near the polling place, but I think the other rules are ridiculous and stupid!

gnx
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gnx 07/11/08 - 04:02 pm
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I think it's wrong to

I think it's wrong to restrict voters to one party voting in primaries. I'm with rbk in that it's not fair to the voter if the only candidates running for a particular position happen to be from a different party and on a different ticket than the one you're voting on. What if you're an independent? Are you denied the right to vote in the primaries simply because you're neither Democrat nor Republican? It certainly seems that way doesn't it?

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 07/11/08 - 04:12 pm
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I take the comment posted by

I take the comment posted by 'stadry' as sarcasm, and agree with 'rbk' that "I should be allowed to vote for the candidate of my choice regardless of party affiliation."

mable8
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mable8 07/13/08 - 01:18 am
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I firmly believe that we

I firmly believe that we should have a choice of candidates in both the primary AND general elections. It is not fair to the voters to have only a single set of names to choose from. I also believe that the third parties should also appear on both ballots. GA does not allow for Independents to register as Independents; you are either a republican or a democrat--and some of us are not fully vested with these groups because we tend to vote for the PERSON and NOT FOR THE PARTY. Where are our rights as voters?

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