On March 26th the governor signed SB 202, a multi-faceted elections bill called the Election Integrity Act by supporters or the Election Suppression Act by opponents. Whatever you think of this bill as a whole, it contains a provision that provides for the use of Instant Runoff Voting for American military personnel and civilians living overseas, echoing provisions in bipartisan HB59 that was introduced earlier in the session. This is consistent with laws already on the books in surrounding states.
This has been reported not as an initial use of IRV, but as a provision to shorten the runoff period. The reduction in the runoff period is a beneficial consequence. Federal law says that in any election where a federal office is on the ballot (Senate or House race), that states must allow nine weeks for the overseas voters to get their ballots and return them. Georgia can now meet that requirement by having the overseas voters cast their Instant Runoff vote when they cast their initial vote, allowing Georgia to make all runoffs 4 weeks, even if there is a federal office on the ballot.
Better Ballot Georgia is very encouraged that Georgia is now on track to start using Instant Runoff Voting, albeit in limited circumstances. The best solution in the long run is to have ALL Georgia elections conducted this way, eliminating runoffs altogether.
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