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January 13--  House Bill 310 passed the Georgia State Senate by substitute today by a vote of 38 to 15. The bill substitute would revise the schedule of state and local candidate elections to correspond with federal candidate elections dates, and was carried by Sen. Butch Miller (R – Gainesville). Sen. Miller also serves as chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus.

“Keeping two separate election calendars is not only impractical – it’s impossible,” said Sen. Miller. “The State of Georgia doesn’t have the personnel or technology needed to even consider pursuing such an option. By changing state and local candidate election dates to match those of federal candidate elections, we will be able to create a more efficient process that conserves state resources and taxpayer dollars.”

The State of Georgia is now required to have at least 45 days of absentee balloting before the date of a runoff or primary election where a federal candidate is on the ballot, which has shifted the dates of federal candidate elections away from the traditional election calendar. The substitute to HB 310 sets the following schedule for local, state and federal candidate elections in 2014:

·       General Primary Qualifying Period: Begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday of the 11th week prior to the General Primary and ends at 12:00 Noon on the Friday immediately following (March 3 – 7, 2014)

·       General Primary Election: Held on the 24th week preceding the November General Election (May 20, 2014)

·       General Primary Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Primary (July 22, 2014)

·       General Election: Held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (November 4, 2014)

·       General Election Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Election (January 6, 2015)

HB 310 now travels back to the House of Representatives for consideration.