Voices & Choices

Will this latest Georgia runoff be the nail in the runoff coffin?

Will this latest Georgia runoff be the nail in the runoff coffin?

Georgia voters have had their patience tested this year. Voters are being asked to vote repeatedly — and may face three more elections by January 5, 2021. Here’s the schedule:

  • Jan-Feb. 2020: Two state legislative seats filled by special elections, one requiring a runoff
  • March 24, 2020: Presidential primary date postponed to June 9 after weeks of early voting
  • June 9, 2020: Primary (US Senate, US House, state legislative, rescheduled presidential)
  • Aug. 11, 2020: Primary runoff (four US House races, many state races)
  • Sept. 29, 2020: Special election (1st round) for 5th congressional election
  • Nov. 3, 2020: General election (President, U.S. Senate, US House, state legislative)
  • Dec. 1, 2020: State office runoff election (if needed) and 5th congressional district runoff
  • Jan 5, 2021: Federal runoff election for U.S. Senate (at least one, possibly two)

Studies show that the more often you ask people to vote, the less likely they are to do so. Throw in the challenges of voting in a pandemic — as Georgia experienced in a nightmarish way in June — and the value of ensuring military voters overseas can vote equitably, and Georgia’s schedule is simply unconscionable.

This isn’t to say that the state’s unique level of support for majority winners — in special elections, primary elections, and general elections — should be discouraged. But it would be far more efficient and participatory to adopt ranked choice voting to achieve that objective.

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