Georgia’s top election official wants Legislature to get rid of runoffs

Georgia is one of the few remaining states using the General Election Runoff model, Brad Raffensperger says.

Published: December 25, 2023 11:07pm

(The Center Square) -

Georgia's secretary of state wants lawmakers to eliminate general election runoffs.

"Georgia is one of the few remaining states using the General Election Runoff model," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in an announcement. "Next year, there will be a contentious presidential election — and families across Georgia will be settling down for the holidays shortly after — let's give them a break and take another costly and unnecessary election off the Thanksgiving table. I'm calling on the General Assembly to visit this topic next session and eliminate this outdated distraction.

"No one wants to be dealing with politics in the middle of their family holiday," Raffensperger, a Republican, added. "Our county election offices will already be securing the 2024 presidential election with audits and certifying those results. Let's not burden them with another election."

Next year looks to be an equally contentious year for elections, starting with the presidential primaries and culminating with the presidential election. The Peach State saw runoffs in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 general elections.

Raffensperger also made the ask last year.

"Runoff elections are particularly useful if concerned about candidates with little support creating spoiler effects," Timothy S. Rich, a political science professor at Western Kentucky University, told The Center Square via email. "It also allows voters to vote sincerely for whatever candidate they prefer rather than focusing just on who is likely to have a chance to win.

"However, in most recent examples in Georgia, the impact of third-party or independent candidates is minimal. Moreover, unless there is a major split on one side (e.g., two conservative candidates against a liberal one), the outcome in the second round rarely differs substantively from the first round," Rich added. "This is seen elsewhere too, as runoffs are very common in presidential elections in Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe and for a handful of legislative electio

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