ST. MARYS, Ga. – Georgia Democrats will choose between seven contenders in a U.S. Senate race to challenge incumbent Republican David Perdue on Tuesday. Ballots also include the pandemic delayed Democratic presidential preference primary contested U.S. House primaries, dozens of state House and state Senate races, and two nonpartisan general elections for the state Supreme Court, along with sheriffs, county commissions, boards of education and other local races.
After three weeks of early voting and more than one million absentee votes were submitted, all precincts are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Because coronavirus is still circulating, voters will be offered hand sanitizer as they arrive, stand 6 feet apart and, in some counties, tap a touchscreen with a stylus instead of a finger at vote at machines that are spaced further apart than usual.
In some places, poll workers asked voters to wait in their cars until it’s their turn to vote. Elections officials are wearing gloves and they’ll frequently wipe down touchscreens. Voting booths are spread farther apart than usual.
“Everyone has to have a mask on when they come in and after each voter, we sanitize the machines and we have social distance and we have signs up so they know where they can stand and where they can’t,” said Phyllis Rone, poll manager of the precinct in St. Marys. “All the surfaces people touch we are disinfecting.”
Jeri Boleman was the first voter in line at that precinct Tuesday.
“It’s the absolute basic right of every American citizen. They should embrace it and take it seriously,” Boleman said.
Most voters said they felt safe and the voting was seamless and quick.
The primary was the first statewide test of Georgia’s new voting machines, which combines familiar touchscreen machines with printed-out paper ballots. Voters can check their ballots before inserting them into scanners attached to ballot boxes.
Jon Ossoff, Teresa Tomlinson and Sarah Riggs Amico headline the Senate race. If no one wins a majority, the top two contenders will return in an Aug. 11 runoff. Democrats hope to be competitive in both the Perdue race, as well as a November special election to fill the last two years of the term of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a race in which Kelly Loeffler currently holds the seat by appointment but faces both Republican and Democratic opponents.
Georgia’s 1st Congressional District
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter faces challengers Danny Merritt and Ken Yasger in the Republican primary in this district that includes all of Coastal Georgia and a dozen inland counties, while Democrats will choose among Lisa Ring, Joyce Marie Griggs and Barbara Seidman.
State Supreme Court
Lawyer and former state Rep. Beth Beskin is challenging incumbent Justice Charlie Bethel, while Dougherty County prosecutor and former local judge Hal Moroz competes against incumbent Sarah Warren.
Public Service Commission
Environmental advocate Daniel Blackman and energy efficiency consultant John Noel seek the Democratic nomination for the state Public Service Commission. Although the two must live in District 4, which covers northern and eastern parts of Georgia, the race is on the ballot statewide. Blackman lost to incumbent Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald in 2014, while Noel lost a Democratic primary for the utility regulatory commission in a different district in 2018.
There are many state and local races on the ballots in all counties. View a district-by-district and county-by-county list of candidates running for office.
News4Georgia.com will have complete results on all the races starting as soon as the polls close and some of the bigger races will also be covered on News4Jax at 10 p.m. Tuesday night.