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Georgia Presidential Primary set for March

Early date set to give Georgians more of a say in who has a shot at the White House, officials say.

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Thursday that the state will hold its presidential preference primary on March 6 in an effort to give Georgians more of a say in the nomination process.

“My decision to hold Georgia’s presidential preference primary on March 6, 2012 protects the interests of Georgia voters. By holding our presidential primary election on March 6, 2012 we can ensure that the voices of Georgia voters are heard and are relevant in the presidential candidate nomination process,” Kemp said.

The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 454 this year, which allows the Secretary of State to set the presidential preference primary date.

Unlike Florida, who earlier this week announced it would hold its primary January 31, Georgia shouldn’t lose any delegates at the Republican National Convention because Kemp says they followed the rules.

“Finally, I want to stress that we have committed in good faith to abiding by the rules set forth by the Republican National Committee so Georgia will not suffer a loss of delegates, and I highly encourage the Republican National Committee to enforce its rules as this process continues.”

Florida’s move will likely prompt the legislatures of the states who traditionally hold their caucuses and primaries first like South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire to reschedule their primaries earlier in January to remain first at the top of the heap.

Whether March 6 will remain a “Super Tuesday,” has yet to be seen. States have until Saturday to lock in their presidential primary dates.

Ginger Nickerson, the head of the Dougherty County Elections Office, said Thursday that the change should have little impact on the local office.

No other referendums or issues are currently scheduled for that Tuesday she said, although that could change.

The only substantial issue that could come up is if a lawsuit was filed contesting the city and county’s new political districts and remained unsettled when March 6 rolled around, Nickerson said.