“You have to pick a party,” said Spalding County Election Supervisor Terry Colling when asked what the rules for voting in the primary are.
Unlike some other states, where party registration is required, a voter in Georgia can vote in either primary regardless of his or her personal affiliation, although if one votes in the Republican primary, one cannot vote in the Democratic primary and vice versa. However, one can vote in one party’s national primary in February and vote in the other party’s state and local primary in July.
This year, according to sample ballots obtained from the Spalding County elections office, the Republican ballot will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, former United Nations Ambassador Alan Keyes, U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.
The Democratic primary ballot will feature U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
“All we’re doing is presidential preference. There’s nothing else on the ballot,” Colling said. She expects turnout to be light in February, since only 20 percent of the registered voters in Spalding County voted in the 2004 presidential primary. This year, since there are so many candidates on the ballot -- in 2004, only incumbent President George W. Bush was on the Republican ballot -- she expects turnout to be somewhat higher but not by much. Kathy Noble, vice chairwoman of the Spalding County Republican Party’s executive board, said the election this year will be