Georgia’s Non-Partisan Ballots Lead To Some Voter Confusion | WABE 90.1 FM

Georgia’s Non-Partisan Ballots Lead To Some Voter Confusion

Mar 3, 2016

In Super Tuesday's wake, stories popped up on social media of Georgia voters unwittingly opting for non-partisan ballots, not knowing they wouldn't able to vote on presidential nominees.

Georgia's office Secretary of State said it has not gotten any specific complaints about this, but beginning yesterday, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit were strewn with stories from voters like this one in Reynoldstown:

"I was planning to vote for a Democrat, but I like to think of myself as open minded and not beholden to a party line," said the 33-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous. "I was just trying to make sure my ballot represented my actual views -- which turned out to be a really dumb thing to do."

"This is super embarrassing to me because I like to think that I am a somewhat civically engaged human who understands how the voting process works," she said. "I just thought I was better than this."

Georgia's open primaries allow voters to choose any party or non-partisan ballot, but choosing the latter means you don't get to pick a presidential candidate.

"So I weighed in real hard on that water-sewer thing, but wasn't able to vote for a presidential candidate, regrettably," the voter told WABE. She said poll workers she spoke with gave the impression she wasn't alone in her mistake.

"We do understand from media reports that there were confusions in certain areas," said Kelli Persons with Georgia's League of Women Voters, "but usually what we hear is 'I didn't know there was a non-partisan ballot.'"

According to Persons, some voters are only interested in voting on local non-partisan issues, such as selecting judges or municipal referendums.

Officials with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office said voters can contact local county officials for sample ballots ahead of elections, but that ballot research is ultimately up to individual voters.