Bill Proposes Allowing Non-Partisan Elections for Local Offices

A bill that would provide the option of making the elections of certain county officials, including sheriff, district attorney, coroner, tax commissioner and clerk of superior court non-partisan was dropped in the Senate hopper this afternoon, and is expected to have a first reading on Wednesday. Senate Bill 318 is sponsored by Rick Jefffares of McDonough, Fran Millar of Dunwoody, Jesse Stone of Waynesboro, Brandon Beach of Alpharetta and others.

In order to move to non-partisan elections, senators and representatives of a county would need to pass local legislation authorizing it. This capacity already exists for school board members, judicial offices, and officers of consolidated county – city governments.

Back at the old place, we discussed the possibility in 2013 and 2014. Some say that making certain positions non-partisan might keep better qualified candidates in office in areas which are transitioning from one party to another. Others believe that a candidate’s political party is a good indicator of how the person will perform in office, and party primaries should be continued. This isn’t the first time the idea has been brought up–Allen Peake dropped a similar bill in the House a few years back. Is it time to give this idea serious consideration?


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