We have some tough and unnecessary decisions Tuesday.
On the day of the election primaries, we will be asked what is more important. Do we value leadership at the state level or the local level? Do we choose to vote for those running our county or helping to run our state? Or our school board? Such questions are important but they shouldn't be questions at all.
The three races for county commission seats will be on the Democratic primary while the state House and Senate races, as well as the one contested spot on the school board, will be in the Republican primary. The problem lies with the law that says our local county commission and school board races are partisan races, meaning candidates much choose from the Republican or Democratic parties.
They choose this affiliation not so much because of political ideology, in fact some have not considered this at all. One candidate has said they chose their party affiliation because their opponent also chose that affiliation and they wanted the race over in July instead of November. We can't fault them for that kind of thinking ... it is dictated by a bad system.
Party affiliations mean little if anything at the local level. In this day of the two-party system, voters usually vote for the person and not the party. But on Tuesday, voters will have to choose.
The rule can be changed and should be. It will have to be done through legislation at the state level and we urge our local lawmakers to change it when they go to Atlanta in January.
The Georgia House of Representatives race for the District 153 seat is a prime example. Incumbent Austin Scott and Michael Spinks are both running as Republicans with no Democratic opposition, meaning the winner Tuesday will be in Atlanta next year. That district encompasses most of Tift County and all of Turner County. In Turner County, a heated sheriff's race features two Democratic contenders and voters will probably value that race over the House race. We'll wager that only a few hundred Republican votes, if that many, will be cast in that county.
In Tift County, the Democratic county commission races could pull significant numbers from the House race. Or it could work the other way and some may vote in the House race, which could alter the outcome of the commission races.
It will also affect the Senate race featuring Republicans Joseph Carter and Carden Summers, but probably to a lesser degree since this district covers several more counties.
Being a Republican or Democrat commissioner may mean something in larger counties such as Fulton or DeKalb. But all it means in Tift County is that we'll have to make some serious choices about which races mean more to us on Tuesday. We hope it's the last time we're forced to make such unnecessary choices.
But before you go to the polls Tuesday, know which races most affect you and know which color ballot you will pick up. It's an important, if unneeded, decision.
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