The U.S. Justice Department has given its stamp of approval to state legislation passed this spring to give Secretary of State Brian Kemp the power to set the date for next year’s presidential primary, Kemp’s office announced this afternoon.
Three other election measures signed by Gov. Nathan Deal also survived the DOJ scrutiny required by the Voting Rights Act. In sum:
– HB 454, sponsored by Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, allows Kemp to set the date of next year’s presidential primary by Dec. 1. The election can be no sooner than late January, and no later than mid-June.
– HB 92, also sponsored by Hamilton, reduces in-person early voting to three weeks prior to Election Day, down from 45 days. Counties complained of the extra costs, but some Republicans were also eager to curtail the emphasis that, in 2008, Barack Obama was able to getting voters to the polls six weeks before Election Day.
– HB 158, sponsored by James Mills, R-Gainesville, switches the date of judicial and other non-partisan races from November to back to the general primary in the summer. Counties had complained about the extra costs forced by a runoff in the November general election.
– HB 302, sponsored by Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, changes the date of the general primary in even-numbered years following a census from the next-to-last last Tuesday in August to the last Tuesday in July. The legislation, a release from Kemp’s office says, was needed to meet federal requirements for military and overseas voters.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider