Election dates change in Muscogee County - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Election dates change in Muscogee County

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A lot of changes to the election schedule are occurring this year. Normally voters expect the primary to be in July, with the real vote occurring in November. This year, May is it. If you miss out on the primary, you don't get to decide who will be mayor of Columbus.

The primary election for local non-partisan candidates in Muscogee County used to be in July. So now you have less time to get registered if you're interested in participating.

"If you're not registered 30 days before an election, then you have missed that deadline and you are unable to vote in that election," Nancy Boren, Director of Elections and Registration.

The change affects voters across the country and it was made with our military service members in mind.

"It's May 20th this year because a federal judge ruled we have to give the military the full 45 day window to vote their absentee ballot prior to a run-off," said Boren.

A run-off occurs when there are more than two candidates running and no one person has more than 50% of the vote.   A second vote is then called between the top two, and if that occurs, it will be nine weeks after the primary instead of three.

Right now there are only two candidates for mayor who have sent a letter of intention that they are going to run.   Teresa Tomlinson has already completed her paperwork proving she is a qualified candidate.  Colin Martin announced he will be submitting his Tuesday. To run for mayor, the director said you have to be registered to vote in Muscogee County for at least two years.

"You have to be 25 years of age. You have to pay the qualifying fee of $1950," said Boren.

The County office is currently looking for people to help register the public to vote.

"All of them are volunteer. They have to be trained, they have to go through a background check, and it is a process to be a deputy registrar."

Even if you are registered independent or not affiliated with a major party, Georgia state law says you can still vote in the primary election.

After the first day of qualification, there are currently ten candidates who have qualified to run in May in the school board, city council, judicial and mayoral elections. Everyone who wants to run has until Friday at noon to submit their paperwork.

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