Ga. Sec. of State Calls for End to Runoffs

Georgia Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger called for the state’s legislature to end election runoffs, noting that Georgia is one of the last states that holds a general election runoff.

Ga. Sec. of State Calls for End to Runoffs
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Facts

  • Georgia Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger called for the state’s legislature to end election runoffs, noting that Georgia is one of the last states that holds a general election runoff.
  • This comes a week after the state's Senate runoff, which saw Sen. Raphael Warnock secure reelection. Georgia has held three hotly contested runoffs in the past two years that garnered national attention.
  • Louisiana is the only other state with a general election runoff. Other states – except Maine and Alaska, which feature ranked-choice voting – allow a winner to prevail with just a plurality of the vote.
  • A law implemented two years ago shortened the time between the general election and runoff to four weeks. But Raffensperger says that interferes with workers’ holiday time and burdens counties who already struggle to complete all election-related deadlines.
  • There are several alternatives to the runoff system, including ranked-choice voting, lowering the threshold to trigger a runoff from a majority to a plurality, and eliminating ballot access to third-party candidates.
  • The Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly convenes in January, which is when it will reportedly discuss its options.

Sources: NBC, National Review, CNN, and WTOC.

Narratives

  • Republican narrative, as provided by Fox News. The runoffs are a Democratic relic that dates back to when state Rep. Denmark Grover tried to rig the system after he lost his reelection race. There’s no reason why the candidate who gets the most votes can't be declared the winner in a general election without putting the state’s election workers through the grind of managing a runoff, especially when it falls just after Thanksgiving.
  • Democratic narrative, as provided by MSNBC. Groover was a Democrat from a different time, and he blamed Black voters for his loss. He admitted he invented the runoff system to suppress the Black vote. So there's no question Georgia should get rid of it. But rather than focusing on disrupted holiday times — ironically the result of a Republican law — there should be collective recognition of how this system hurt marginalized communities