One of the more intriguing features of primary election ballots are the non-binding questions placed on them by political parties.
We’ve had some doozies over the years, with questions placed on the ballot more to send a message than to gauge voter support.
That was somewhat the case a couple of years ago with a Columbia County Republican Party question asking voters if they favored term limits. Voters said “yes.” Public officials ignored it.
County Commission Chairman Ron Cross then persuaded fellow commissioners to ask state lawmakers to put term limits for commissioners on the ballot. That binding resolution won’t be on the July 31 ballot, however; it will appear in November. And when qualifying had closed this past Friday, the local parties had failed to place any questions on the primary ballot.
Not to worry. In addition to several local races, voters in July will have plenty of ballot questions.
The big one is the binding, statewide initiative adding an additional sales tax for transportation. Columbia County voters also will be asked to allow Sunday package alcohol sales.
But while local Republicans and Democrats didn’t add any questions to the ballot, the state parties provided a total of nine.
1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?
2. Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?
3. Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license?
4. Should citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?
5. Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?
1. Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?
2. Do you support ending the current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators?
3. Should Georgia adopt an income tax credit for home energy costs to support the economic security of our families?
4. Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?
The only question in common from the two ballots is the one about limiting gifts from lobbyists. It’ll pass. Lawmakers will ignore it. The beat goes on.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/