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Georgia Leaders Call for Radical Change: Ranked-Choice Voting Faces Ban


The Georgia 2024 legislative session has kicked off with a notable agenda item: the consideration of legislation to prohibit ranked-choice voting. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) have released a statement highlighting their opposition to ranked-choice voting, asserting that it is a system “designed to confuse” among voters. Their proposed bill, Senate Bill 355, aims to proactively eliminate ranked-choice voting as an option for the election of candidates at the local, state, or federal levels.

The move follows the trajectory set by SB 202 in 2021, a bill aimed at reforming aspects of Georgia’s election system. SB 202 included provisions such as a ban on distributing food or water to voters waiting in line, a provision that faced legal challenges and was ultimately struck down by a judge in August. The current proposed legislation seeks to build on the mission initiated by SB 202, reinforcing the integrity of Georgia’s elections and instilling trust in the electoral process.

Sen. Randy Robertson, the author of the bill, emphasized that SB 355 is intended to address concerns about the potential confusion and lack of trust that ranked-choice voting might introduce into the electoral system. The proposed legislation defines ranked-choice voting as “a voting method that allows electors to rank candidates for an office in order of preference and has ballots cast be tabulated in multiple rounds following the elimination of a candidate until a single candidate attains a majority.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones expressed opposition to ranked-choice voting, framing it as an “electoral disaster” that could lead to voter confusion, political manipulation, and increased polarization. Jones specifically pointed to concerns that the system, advocated by some on the political Left, could result in a higher number of discarded ballots, potentially disenfranchising voters in Georgia.

Georgia Leaders Call for Radical Change: Ranked-Choice Voting Faces Ban

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The proposed ban on ranked-choice voting in Georgia aligns with the stance taken by several other states. Currently, five states, including Florida and Tennessee, have implemented a ban on ranked-choice voting. Supporters of the ban argue that it is a proactive measure to protect the faith of Georgia voters in their elections and to prevent potential complications introduced by the ranked-choice voting system.

While Georgia does not currently have ranked-choice voting in place, the legislative move is seen as a preemptive effort to thwart any future consideration or implementation of the voting method. The debate surrounding the proposed legislation underscores the broader national discourse on electoral reforms, with states grappling with questions of fairness, accessibility, and the integrity of their electoral systems.

As SB 355 makes its way through the legislative process, it is likely to encounter both support and opposition, with advocates emphasizing its role in safeguarding the electoral process and critics raising concerns about limiting voting options and potential disenfranchisement. The outcome of this legislative effort will contribute to shaping the electoral landscape in Georgia and may influence discussions on voting methods in other states.

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