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Sec. of State Proposes Ending Runoffs, Introducing Two Key Bills for Electoral Change

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Two election reform bills could get new traction after a high-profile call to eliminate Georgia's election runoffs. Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger announced this week he wants to eliminate runoff elections in Georgia. The election chief said runoffs fouled the holiday season last year and in 2020.

To win an election in Georgia, candidates have to win 50% of the vote plus one. Because voter turnout drops in a runoff, state Rep. Saira Draper says it’s not a smart way to choose candidates. Draper’s bill introduced earlier this year would give the election to the candidate who prevails with at least 45 percent of the vote.

Less than that would require a runoff. Another bill pending would create an "automatic runoff" by letting city-election voters rank candidates on their ballots – eliminating lower-ranked candidates, then scoring the higher-ranking candidates, creating one winner. The cities would have to opt-in for such a runoff scheme under the bipartisan House measure.

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