Georgia Voter Apathy is Expensive

WALKER COUNTY, GA (WDEF-TV) — The ballot in Georgia is set for the November elections.
A few voters took care of unfinished business Tuesday during the statewide run-off election.
But, it was an expensive exercise in the practice of democracy—and one that raised questions.

About 10 percent of Georgia voters settled a handful of races on Tuesday in the state run-off.
Heading the ballot was the republican U.S. Senate race won by David Perdue, and Democrat and Republican races for state school superintendent.
That’s all that was on the ballot in some counties including Catoosa where the turnout was only 5.8 percent of registered voters.

JOHN CAMPBELL, CATOOSA CO. ELECTIONS DEPT. "For any election you have a lot of pre-election stuff you have to do to get ready for the election…by law you have to have three people at each precinct..you must have each precinct open, three weeks of early voting ..So that expense is there whether the people vote or not."

And that’s what some people see as a drawback to the Georgia system—a full crew and added expense for a run-off.
The Dade county executive says sometimes he wishes Georgia had a winner-take-all process like some Tennessee counties have.

TED RUMLEY, DADE COUNTY EXECUTIVE "What I’m looking at is the savings..not just for Dade county but throughout the whole state. You know there’s no telling how many millions of dollars could be saved from you know getting away from the primaries…not just the primaries but having a runoff."

It sounds like a plan, but it does not offer the voter as many options.

BEBE HEISKELL, WALKER SOLE COMMISSIONER "The state of Georgia gives an opportunity for those people that voted for somebody else…..the two top vote-getters are in a run-off and they can vote for which one of those…they get another chance if their person didn’t win, to decide which of the other candidates they’d rather have….and I guess that’s a fair way to do it..but it is an expensive way. "

Georgia state senator Jeff Mullis from Walker county was in Atlanta.
He told us by phone that it might be time for the legislature to take another look at the expenses forced on local taxpayers by state mandated run-off elections.

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