The May 24 special election for the Sandy Springs City Council District 3 seat may be confusing for voters. The special election is the same day as the state primary election, but they are totally separate elections with different polling places.

For the state primary, voters will go to their normal precinct-based polling places run by Fulton County. But for the City Council election, District 3 voters must go to a single, separate polling place: the Round Program Building in Hammond Park at 6005 Glenridge Drive.

That means that citizens who want to vote in both the state and city elections must vote twice at two different polls.

Only voters who live in District 3 can vote in the City Council election. A district map can be viewed here.

The city has posted a full guide to voting in both the state and city elections here.

Five candidates are running in the District 3 special election: Chris Burnett, Brian Eufinger, Joe Houseman, Suzi Voyles and Larry Young. They discussed the campaign issues at two major public forums, one hosted by Reporter Newspapers and one by the Riverside Homeowners Association.

Why the separate City Council and state primary polling places? Normally, the county would also host a city election at its normal polling places, but the law requires a certain notification period for that to happen. The city chose to hold its special election to fill the District 3 seat as soon as possible, and also wanted to line up with the May 24 election date. But the city was unable to schedule the election in time to meet the advance notification period for the May 24 election. That meant the city was forced to run the special election itself at its own expense, which also requires totally separate polls.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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