Georgia’s Chief Election Officer Advocates for Eliminating Runoff Elections

In Georgia, the General Election Runoff model is noted as one of the last of its kind, according to Brad Raffensperger, the state’s secretary of state, who is advocating for a change.

Raffensperger emphasized the strain and disruption these runoffs cause during crucial holiday periods, saying, “Georgia is among the few remaining states utilizing the General Election Runoff model. With a contentious presidential election next year and families in Georgia gearing up for the holidays shortly after, let’s spare them and remove another costly and unnecessary election from the Thanksgiving table. I urge the General Assembly to address this matter in the upcoming session and eliminate this outdated distraction.”

As a member of the Republican Party, Raffensperger underscored the need to preserve family holidays free from political disruptions. “Nobody wants to deal with politics amid their family holiday. 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.”

The upcoming year is set to be pivotal for elections, starting with the presidential primaries and concluding in the presidential election. In recent years, Georgia has experienced runoff scenarios in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 general elections.

This isn’t the first instance of Raffensperger advocating for such changes, as he made a similar request last year.

Examining the effectiveness of runoff elections, Timothy S. Rich, a political science professor at Western Kentucky University, pointed out their ability to alleviate spoiler effects and enable voters to genuinely express preferences for their preferred candidates.

Nevertheless, Rich observed that recent occurrences in Georgia have demonstrated minimal influence from third-party or independent candidates. The results in the second round, unless there are significant divisions or extraordinary circumstances, frequently resemble those of the initial round.

This trend, observed globally, suggests that runoffs may not consistently bring about significant changes in election outcomes.