Posted by Austin Plier on April 27, 2016
Carl Gilliard won a special runoff election for House District 162 of Georgia's State House, to fill the seat of Representative Bob Bryant, who passed away earlier this year. Georgia held a runoff election about a month after the original special election, as Gilliard fell just short of a majority with only 46% of the vote. He won handily in the runoff, beating challenger Alicia Blakely 73% to 27%. Only about 6% of the 23,000 registered voters across 19 precincts showed up to vote in the runoff election.
Georgia should adopt ranked choice voting--also known as "instant runoff voting"--for situations as these. This would allow voters to rank candidates in order of choice, so that if no candidate receives a majority, an instant runoff can take place based on voters rankings. This would allow the state to save money by avoiding the costs associated with a runoff, and maximize turnout in one election, while still achieving the same democratic results.