Editorial: Is Georgia’s runoff system really fair?

Patrick Swanson / November 28,2022

After Raphael Warnock won 49.4% of the election vote and Herschel Walker 48.5%, Georgia is headed to a runoff election.

Georgia law requires a runoff election if a candidate does not receive at least 50% of the vote in general elections. Louisiana is the only other state that has this requirement.

While this may seem like a fair law, ensuring a candidate is backed by half of the voters, the law has a racist background.

From 1917 to 1962, Georgia used the county unit voting system, allocating a certain number of votes based off classification (rural, urban and town counties) to Georgia counties regardless of population. The candidate who won the majority of a county’s vote represented the whole county in the election.

This voting system suppressed black voters by giving the same number of votes to predominantly white rural counties as the most populous county with many black voters.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the county unit voting system by reaffirming the “one person, one vote” concept.

“The origins of the runoff election process as the continuation of the blatantly racist county unit system came as the result of an effort by a number of legislators to curtail the power ‘bloc voting,’ a euphemism for Black voters, following the upending of the county unit system,” according to the U.S. Vote Foundation, which is a private, nonprofit nonpartisan public charity founded in 2005.

This was proved in a deposition in a legal case in 1984 by State Representative Denmark Groover, who proposed the runoff election system for Georgia.

“I was a segregationist,” Groover said.  “I was a county unit man. But if you want to establish if I was racially prejudiced, I was. If you want to establish that some of my political activity was racially motivated, it was.”

Politically, there has been a lot of back and forth with voters regarding voter fraud in recent elections. If there wasn’t a runoff election, many voters might try to blame the results on voter fraud.

However, it’s hard for many people to vote, much less vote twice. For the runoff, voters have a short time to take advantage of the mail-in ballots since there is such a time crunch. Others might not see the point in making the trip twice.

Even though there is less than a 1% difference in voting results for the midterm, it is a 36,465-vote difference.

The rest of the country has accepted their results and moved on while Georgia continues to be plagued with Warnock and Walker advertisements, cutting down the other candidate and dividing voters more and more.

The Spectator believes that, while we are used to this voting system since it’s all Georgia citizens have ever known, Warnock won the election, and we should be moving on like everyone else.

Georgia should have the same rules as other states, break free from the voting system’s racist background and accept that majority wins.

Those 36,455 voters matter, and their votes should be enough to make a decision in the senate elections.