Last Updated on December 15, 2022
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger issued a press release on Wednesday in which he called on the Georgia General Assembly to eliminate general election runoffs when the state legislature convenes in January. Raffensperger followed up with a statement in which he said he would propose a decreased electoral win threshold of 45 percent. Raffensperger also endorsed the prospect of adopting ranked-choice voting.
“Georgia is one of the only states in the country with a General Election Runoff. We’re also one of the only states that always seems to have a runoff. I’m calling on the General Assembly to visit the topic of the General Election Runoff and consider reforms,” Raffensperger said. “The General Assembly convenes in January and could select from a wide range of options to address this topic to help further the goal of safe, secure, and efficient elections.”
Raffensperger told The New York Times on December 8th he would propose the enforcement of increased early-voting locations in large counties, a decreased electoral win threshold from 50 percent to 45 percent, and the institution of a “ranked-choice instant-runoff system.”
Atlanta Tea Party President, Debbie Dooley, pushed back on Raffensperger’s statement in one of her own.
“Georgia currently allows ranked choice voting for overseas and military ballots. To expand that would be disastrous. RCV helps elect RINOs and Democrats. That is why Sarah Palin lost her congressional race to a Democrat and RINO. Murkowski won her race despite losing the first round,” Dooley said.
“Brad Raffensperger wants Georgia to move to a total ranked choice system. Just like when his office sent out 6.9 million absentee ballot applications in 2020 during the primary, his office has a history of caving to Democrats and giving them what they want just like he did with the Abrams Settlement deal,” she added.
Shane Hazel, the 2022 Libertarian Party Nominee for Governor of Georgia, and Chase Oliver, the Libertarian Party’s 2022 nominee for Senator, spoke with The National File on Wednesday about the announcement.
“The Republicans and Democrats are tired of spending extra money when Libertarians send their terrible candidates to a costly runoff,” Hazel said.
Oliver, who hinted at a possible run for the 2024 Libertarian nomination for President on December 2nd via an exploratory committee, disagreed with the move to decrease the win threshold.
“It should stay at 50% plus one vote,” Oliver said. “The move to 45% is because they see conditions happening for third party growth and are afraid and are now changing the goalposts.”
The whole purpose of a runoff, instant or otherwise, is to gain a majority consensus on a candidate. 45 percent isn’t a majority, so the 50 percent rule should stand,” he added.
“I understand and empathize with the voters who want runoffs, so we can elect people with over 50% support. I also understand and empathize with the voters who don’t want runoffs interrupting their holidays or the cost of runoffs to the taxpayer. And the solution to both worries is simple,” Oliver said. “Pass ranked choice voting. It’s less expensive and time consuming than a traditional runoff, keeps our democracy responsive to the majority of voters, and has the added benefit of increasing civility between campaigns who are fighting to be a 2nd choice on the ranked ballot.”
Although Oliver is a proponent of the RCV system, he stated in his debate with Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock that the winner of the election should still have at least 50% of the vote to earn the right to political office, and reiterated the same notion in his statement to National File.
“A win all around. Passing RCV is a no-brainer and all Georgia voters should voice their support for this reform and 100% oppose moving toward plurality voting,” Oliver added.
“If Georgia Republicans care about fiscal policy and keeping politics off our Thanksgiving tables and Georgia Democrats want to have a democracy that’s responsive to the will of the voters, then both should support legislation to pass #RankedChoiceVoting in the next session,” Oliver said in a tweet on Wednesday night.
If @GaRepublicans care about fiscal policy and keeping politics off our Thanksgiving tables and @GeorgiaDemocrat want to have a democracy that's responsive to the will of the voters, then both should support legislation to pass #RankedChoiceVoting in the next session. #gapol
— Chase Oliver (@ChaseForLiberty) December 14, 2022
Raffensperger, who sources allege has a penchant for drinking beer and playing golf, complained about doing the work of conducting a proper election during the holiday season.
“No one wants to be dealing with politics in the middle of their family holiday. It’s even tougher on the countries who had a difficult time completing all of their deadlines, an election audit and executing a runoff in a four-week time period.”
On July 29th, Raffensperger and his attorney, Ryan Germany, admitted that investigators “found that Fulton [County] did make mistakes in their audit counting/reporting” of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
Despite that revelation, Raffensperger’s office claimed in their statement on Wednesday that “Georgia continues to be a national leader in providing safe, secure, and accessible elections to all eligible Georgians.”