Make an Informed Vote
By Kaitlyn Ball, Cobb Collaborative Vote Your Voice Coordinator
With the upcoming May 24th Primary Election quickly approaching, it’s important to head to the polls prepared. But how do you know where to start? The first step is looking at your ballot before voting so you can avoid any surprises and last-minute guesses.
As discussed here, Primary Elections help us narrow down party candidates for specific seats that we will vote on in the November General Election, such as Governor, US Senate, US House, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and other state and local offices. In addition to narrowing down party candidates, the May Primary Election will hold different cityhood referendums and non-partisan seats that you will ONLY see on the May Primary Ballot, such as Cobb County Superior Court seats.
With so many things on the ballot, it can seem overwhelming to know what each seat/referendum does for you and your community. It’s even more challenging to find information on each candidate or issue to help you decide who to vote for in each election. We are here to help!
Below is a description of the items you will ONLY see on the May Primary ballot.
- Cobb County Superior Court Judge – The Superior Court is the highest level trial court that conducts a variety of criminal and civil law cases that range from petty theft to murder. Many of the civil cases the Superior Court Judge hears include divorce, title to land, contract disputes, and premises liability. The Superior Court Judge also hears murder, felonies, and capital punishment cases. These seats are held for a four-year term and require at least seven years of practiced law experience. If one resigns or retires prior to the end of their term, the sitting Governor will appoint someone to replace the remainder of their term. In 2022, there are three Superior Court Judge vacancies that need to be filled. Presiding Judge Rob Leonard is up for re-election in addition to two retirements of Judge Robert Flournoy III and Judge Mary Staley Clark. Two Superior Court Judge seats will be filled in the May 24th Primary Election, with a runoff held on June 21st if no candidate gets a majority of the votes. One seat will replace Judge Robert E. Flournoy III, while Judge Rob Leonard’s seat will be challenged by Charles Ford and Matt McMaster. The third seat to replace Judge Mary Staley Clark will be appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to finish out her remaining term.
- The article here displays a list of the candidates who are running for each seat and their respective websites.
- Georgia Supreme Court Justice – The Georgia Supreme Court is the highest court in Georgia that serves as the final court of appeals for civil cases, criminal cases, constitutional cases, election contest cases, habeas corpus, and cases involving the state of Georgia. The GA Supreme Court contains nine justices who decide on cases as a group and serve as the final authority on the Georgia Constitution. These seats are held for a six-year term and require at least seven years of practiced law experience. There are three Georgia Supreme Court Justices with expiring terms who are up for re-election on May 24th; Verda Colvin, Shawn LaGrua, and Carla W. McMillian. Verda Colvin will be challenged by Veronica Brinson, while Shawn LaGura and Carla McMillian will go uncontested. Justice Colvin’s website can be found here, and Veronica Brinson’s website can be found here.
- As discussed in our blog posts here and here, cityhood referendums are brought about by a group of residents who look to gain more local control over certain aspects of their communities.
- East Cobb, Lost Mountain, and Vinings cityhood movements will be on the May Primary Ballot, while the Mableton cityhood movement will be on the November General Ballot.
- Only those who reside in a proposed cityhood can vote on the referendum. To determine if you live within a proposed cityhood area, click on the link here.
- Cobb County has additional resources on the social and financial implications of cityhood, which can be found here.
In addition to the non-partisan seats and cityhood referendum, there are a variety of additional items you will vote for in the May Primary Election. To find out a full list of what will be on your ballot, use the helpful links below:
- Head to the GA Secretary of State My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. There, you will enter your information, verify your registration status, and select “View Sample Ballot.” Since you do have to choose a party for the Primary Election, you will have to choose a “Democrat, Republican, or Non-Partisan” ballot to vote with. This will pull up a full ballot with everything you will vote for based on your district and precinct location.
- Since there are quite a few things on the ballot this May, we recommend checking out gamvp.branch.vote. On this website, you will enter your address, and a list of everything that is on your ballot will appear. This tool also shows you information about each candidate and their position on certain issues, and it saves your choices so you can easily access and remember who you want to vote for.
In addition to researching your ballot through the tools mentioned above, multiple news outlets cover the courts and candidates, including the Cobb County Courier, the Marietta Daily Journal, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and East Cobb News. The Cobb County Courier has multiple Q&A sessions with many candidates who will appear on the May ballot. Ballotpedia is also helpful in researching elections and candidates on one platform.
Make your plan to vote, and head to the polls informed! Advance voting takes place now through May 20th, with Election Day on May 24th!