In 2016, Georgia had the highest number of uncontested State House Races in the United States
Georgia elections are not competitive. An astonishing 83% of Georgia House members did not face any opposition in the 2016 general election. Where there is opposition you almost never see more than 3 names on the ballot. Most ballots offer only one or two choices. That is not real choice.
When there are multiple choices, such as the Special election in Cobb County's District 6 last year where there were 18 names on the ballot, voters often have to choose between the candidate they really want and the one they think has the best chance to win. In Georgia, only the top two candidates that received the most votes can move on to the run-off.
The 2016 GOP Governor's primary -- two candidates that the majority of the GOP didn't want
In a multi-candidate race, the vote is so split and fractured that most primary actually voted against the top two. Think about it, this is kind of messed up. Here's an example:
In the May primary, Casey Cagle received 40% of the vote and Brian Kemp received 25% of the vote. The other candidates, Hunter Hill, Clay Tippens, and Michael Williams, receive fewer votes and therefore are eliminated from the race. Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp are the top-two, they move to the run-off election. However... 60% of the GOP voted against Cagle, and 75% of the GOP voted against Kemp. That is not a good outcome for the GOP, for voters, or for a representational government.
Ranked Choice Voting ensures that voters end up with a consensus candidate
The solution to all of these problems is Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). RCV is designed for multiple candidates. With RCV, voters rank their candidates in order of preference. The candidate that receives the most 1's and 2's will win the election and enjoy majority support from the electorate. Voters love it because they no longer have to think about who will likely win and worry if they are "wasting their vote".
Ranked Choice Voting would save GA counties (and taxpayers!) millions of dollars in run-off expenses
Unlike some other states, Georgia requires a majority to win an election, and this is a GOOD thing. However, often times there are multiple candidates in a race and no single candidate achieves the 50%+1 majority threshold. Therefore, the counties are tasked with conducting a "run-off" election about 8 weeks later. RCV eliminates the need for a costly run-off election because all of the information is collected at one time. RCV would save Georgia counties (and taxpayers!) millions of dollars.
Ranked Choice Voting benefits our military service members overseas
The reason we run-offs are schedule 8 weeks after the general election is that the State must provide our service members overseas the opportunity to participate in the run-offs. It takes time to deliver and receive their paper ballots. RCV offers "instant run-off voting", a feature that makes a separate run-off unnecessary. Ranked Choice Voting is a great benefit to our overseas voters. In fact, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina offer RCV to their military members. As SOS, I will advocate to offer RCV to ALL Georgia citizens.
Ranked Choice Voting increases political competition
Minor party candidates and independent candidates are cannot easily run for office due to ballot access restrictions. Just this year, SOS Brian Kemp defended ballot access restrictions in court stating that the State has an interest in preventing costly run-offs. However, RCV is designed for multiple candidates, and their separate run-off elections are no longer necessary. Therefore, there is no reason to maintain unjust and unfair ballot access restrictions. Remember that in 2016 Georgia had the highest number of uncontested State House races in the country. RCV along with ballot access equality would promote political competition, giving voters more choices at election time, and making government more responsive to the voters.
Along with an IRC & multi-member districts, RCV would STOP gerrymandering
Other candidates will advocate for an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and I believe that is a great start. But it's not enough. In addition to an IRC, I propose multi-member districts and Ranked Choice Voting. Together, this combination of reforms would not only stop gerrymandering, it would also kick-start political competition in Georgia.
Ranked Choice Voting for Georgia is a no-brainer
There is no downside. RCV increases political competition so voters have more choices. Voters are happier. Taxpayers save money. Our military members would benefit. It is key to stopping extreme partisan gerrymandering. Ranked Choice Voting for Georgia is a no-brainer. As Secretary of State I will advocate for Ranked Choice Voting for all Georgia elections!