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Early voting for 2018 runoffs underway

Georgia voters will return to the polls July 24 for runoff elections to decide some of the state’s most important races, including candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and Congress. Voters can begin casting ballots during advanced voting starting July 2. Early voting will last three weeks leading up to the July 24 Election Day. Runoffs are required when no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary election. Voters who participated in the primary election are not allowed to switch political parties between the primary and the runoff. Georgia has open primaries which means voters are allowed to choose either the Democratic or Republican ballot and those who didn’t vote May 22 can pick the party of their choice in the runoff. The governor’s race is the top race on Republican Party ballots and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face off. The winner will run against Democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election. Other Republican races include Sen. David Shafer and former state Rep. Geoff Duncan who will battle for the lieutenant governor’s seat and state Rep. Brad Raffensperger and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle who will face off for secretary of state. For the Democratic Party side, two runoffs will decide nominees for Congress. Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux will face David Kim, a Duluth resident who started a tutoring business, in a race for the state’s 7th Congressional District. The winner will challenge Republican Rep. Rob Woodall. In the 6th Congressional District, gun control advocate Lucy McBath is opposed by Kevin Abel, a Sandy Springs businessman. The winner will face Republican Rep. Karen Handel. The July 24 runoff will be held nine weeks after the primary, and voters will go through another 15 weeks of election-year campaigning before the Nov. 6 general election. The wait before the runoff election was caused by a federal judge’s ruling in 2013 that Georgia violated a requirement to give Americans living abroad enough time to mail their ballots. A federal law requires election officials to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before a federal election. The winners of the primary election runoffs, as well as candidates who won a majority in the May 22 primary election, will face off in the general election Nov. 6.

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