ATLANTA (WSAV) — Georgia’s voting implementation manager spoke out after Tuesday’s runoff election saw a record 1.6 million voters.
The state said counties have to certify the election results within 17 days but it could be earlier.
Gabe Sterling, the state’s voting implementation manager, said wait times for the runoff were on average 3 minutes across the state. However, some voters say early voting had long lines of up to two hours in Atlanta.
“The main thing that happened was counties didn’t provide enough locations in large part because there were many more voters that came out early during the runoff,” Sterling said. “If we had the conversation about runoffs and we find a way to avoid them in the future or extend them, then these situations go away.”
Talks of eliminating the run-off system after six elections in two years are already brewing at the state capitol.
“There are several ways they can go about moving past having any runoff at all,” Sterling said. “You can go to the 45% or 47% or some percent other than 50 for a general election, you can go to an instant runoff.”
“It will certainly come up and probably have hearings during a legislative session, you know, every time you monkey with or change election law there is the accusation that you attempting to design an outcome,” said Bill Crane, an Atlanta voting expert.
“This is a decision for the legislators. We are agnostic,” Sterling said. “We’re saying ‘this is the policy that needs to be addressed, y’all as elected legislators get to decide the policy preference you want to meet.’ But we do think there needs to be discussion, we can be there to facilitate it and answer specific questions about how it will affect actual voters. Because every election teaches us something that we need to learn to address to the next election so that voters in Georgia get the best experience they possibly can.“
In less than a month, state lawmakers are expected to discuss threats to democracy and voting rights when they return for the 2023 legislative session on Jan. 9.
While there have been talks about the efficiency of the runoff, voting groups say the last run-off cost taxpayers $10 million due to poll workers and training.