That issue is among several nonbinding questions that will appear on Republican and Democratic primary ballots. The outcome will not change state law, but it gives politicians a rough measure of public sentiment.
Other questions on the Republican ballot include whether Georgia should allow casino gambling if the proceeds support the education system and whether the Georgia Constitution should be amended to effectively ban abortion.
Proponents of limiting lobbyist spending hope the results will put political pressure on lawmakers to enact a cap. The question on the Republican ballot asks whether voters would support setting a $100 limit on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers. The Democratic version is slightly less specific, asking whether voters want to end unlimited gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers.
Right now, lobbyists can give gifts of any value, but they must publicly disclose their spending. Several bills that would have limited lobbyist spending failed in the General Assembly this year. If voters back a cap, supporters will use those vote tallies to show lawmakers that residents in their districts want limits.
"It's going to be an incredibly powerful lobbying tool, lobbying for the good guys," said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a government watchdog group that is part of a coalition pressing for the limits.
Powerful lawmakers still oppose the cap. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, has criticized the cap by saying it is backed by liberal groups and media elites. He has also said that enacting a cap would drive lobbyist spending underground where the public cannot track it. No member of his leadership team signed onto a public pledge to support lobbying limits.
Lobbyists have spent more than $5,300 on Ralston so far this year, according to spending reports filed with the state's ethics commission. Those gifts included hotel lodging, baseball tickets and meals.
"The speaker continues to advocate for true ethics reform, but has serious reservations about supporting gimmicks cloaked as ethics reform and sold to Georgians as a way to help restore the public's trust in government," Ralston spokesman Marshall Guest said in a statement.
The GOP ballot question on gambling asks whether Georgians would back casino gambling if the funds supported education.
It comes after developer Dan O'Leary unveiled a $1 billion plan to build a gambling complex in Norcross, part of suburban Atlanta. The complex would feature video lottery terminals, which resemble slot machines but are run by the Georgia Lottery Commission. O'Leary has said the lottery terminals are already allowed under state law and need only approval from the commission.
Commission Chairman James Braswell said in April that he would not consider the project without the support of elected leaders.