(The Center Square) — Georgia officials say a new post-election survey vindicates changes to Georgia’s voting law.
The survey — a poll of 1,253 registered Georgia voters who voted in the 2022 midterm election — found that an overwhelming majority (98.9%) reported no issues casting a ballot.
"Georgia voters found the 2022 election to be safe, secure, and accessible," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. "The data reflects the hard work that our 159 election directors did to make it a success."
While the Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard ranked Georgia second, behind Tennessee, critics have said changes to the state’s voting law under Senate Bill 202, the Election Integrity Act, burden local election officials. They have also criticized other portions of the bill, including a ban on "line relief," which bars people from giving food and water to anyone waiting to vote.
Additionally, in June 2021, the U.S. Justice Department sued the state over the law, which some critics have termed "Jim Crow 2.0." The Democratic Party of Georgia did not respond to a request for comment on the poll.
"Georgia’s Election Integrity Act made it easy to vote and hard to cheat," Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said in a statement released via the Georgians First Leadership Committee. "It is past time for President Biden and his allies to apologize to the people of Georgia and request the Department of Justice withdraw their ridiculous lawsuit against the state."
MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab conducted the poll with the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs.
Meanwhile, lawmakers could consider changes to the state’s election law. Raffensperger has said he wants state lawmakers to relegate general election runoffs to the history books.
Scot Turner, executive director of Eternal Vigilance Action, said a "strong majority of Georgians" are fed up with the current system that "wastes time, money and energy." He cited a University of Georgia poll on behalf of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that found 58% of the state’s voters want to do away with our runoff system, while 39% favor the status quo.
Instant runoff voting, he said, is "faster, cheaper and better" and eliminates "the second round of voting while ensuring that winners still have the support of 50 percent plus one."
"In Georgia, our general elections usually have three candidates, a Democrat, a Republican and a Libertarian," Turner said. "In the 2022 Senate race, 80,000 votes for the Libertarian candidates held all candidates below 50 percent, resulting in a runoff that cost taxpayers tens of millions. Saving that time and money by giving those 80,000 voters a second choice makes much more sense than what we’re doing now.
"Georgians want something different, and the more they learn about instant runoffs, the more support for this reform will grow. It’s an idea that can unite those who want to get rid of runoffs and even those who don’t."