Georgia’s Top Election Official Calls For End To Runoffs In The State

As reported in Reuters, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and Georgia’s top election official, called on lawmakers to eliminate the state’s unusual runoff election system. Raffensperger’s urging came just one week after Democrats again prevailed in a runoff for a closely fought U.S. Senate race.

Raffensperger alleged runoff elections put “a significant strain on election officials.” Under Georgia law, if no candidate secures at least half of the votes in November’s regular election, a runoff between the two top vote-getters is triggered.

“No one wants to be dealing with politics in the middle of their family holiday,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “It’s even tougher on the counties who had a difficult time completing all of their deadlines, an election audit and executing a runoff in a four-week time period.”

However, as reported, Raffensperger did not advocate for a particular alternative. A spokesman for his office said the two likeliest options would be to adopt the system that most states use, in which the candidate with the most votes in November wins the race, or a system known as ranked-choice voting.

Ranked-choice voting is sometimes referred to as instant runoffs. Voters list candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins 50% of the initial votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their ballots are redistributed according to the voters’ second choice, and so on until a candidate reaches 50%. Maine and Alaska are the only states to adopt ranked-choice voting for statewide and federal elections. Only Louisiana and Georgia employ a runoff system for general elections.

Now common knowledge, the Democrats in January 2021 swept two Senate runoff races, giving them control of the chamber and allowing President Joe Biden to advance his legislative agenda. Earlier this month, Senator Raphael Warnock defeated former football star Herschel Walker in another runoff, solidifying the Democrats’ majority in the Senate.

D & B Staff

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