AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called on the Georgia General Assembly on Wednesday to eliminate General Election Runoffs.

“Georgia is one of the only states in country with a General Election Runoff,” said Raffensperger in a press release. “We’re also one of the only states that always seems to have a runoff. I’m calling on the General Assembly to visit the topic of the General Election Runoff and consider reforms.”

He went on to say that no one wants to deal with politics around the holidays, and runoffs are tough on counties that have to meet deadlines, audits and prepare for the election in a four week timeline.

However, state representatives and voters that NewsChannel 6 spoke to said they would like to see runoff elections stay.

“Well I think number one it’s not a bad thing that we do runoff elections, because it shows that a person actually gets the majority of the votes. So that’s first and foremost,” said Georgia Senator Harold Jones II. “And then secondly, whenever we start making voter changes, it seems we always do that after an election and it doesn’t go a certain folks way. So that also becomes problematic – what actually is driving this.”

Jones said Georgia’s election system of 50% plus one for a candidate to win shows that they actually got the majority of votes, as compared to plurality or 45% of the votes.

An instant runoff where a voter ranks their top choices during a General Election is an alternative, but Jones said this would be too confusing for voters.

“You start asking persons to vote their first choice, then their second choice, then their third, and if you have multiple candidates that can become very confusing,” he said.

A system where whoever gets the most votes wins is another alternative, but Jones said this wouldn’t be fair because it’s not 50% majority.

From the opposing side, the cost for a county to put on a runoff election is also a factor.

“Runoffs are extremely expensive. They’re not something that we would normally budget for because we don’t know if we’re going to have a runoff,” said Travis Doss, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections. “So it is not part of our normal budget process, especially here in Richmond County.”

The time it takes a county to put on a runoff election is also an issue, especially since Senate Bill 202 was passed that changed runoff time periods from 9 weeks to 4 weeks.

“Absentee ballots, we only have about a week to get those processed and mailed out to people. Advance voting, we only have about a week of people being able to vote early,” Doss said. “So, there’s definitely a lot of hurrying to get everything ready for runoff, and sadly when you hurry for things like that mistakes happen.”

Doss said a vote to eliminate runoff elections would help to fix these problems.

“It would definitely benefit the counties so they wouldn’t have to pay for the runoffs, and then I think it would also help as far as getting voters mobilized, workers mobilized in such a short period of time.”

However, Senator Jones said the money is worth it if that means voters get to choose the most supported candidate.

Voter fatigue and turnout are also concerns.

“Yes, sometimes turnout does go down,” Jones said. “I say we as candidates need to make sure turnout goes up. That’s our responsibility to make sure that happens, too.”

voters we spoke to remain optimistic.

“If it’s like hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people that are experiencing voter fatigue, then you know maybe its something that needs to be looked into,” said Joan West, who was voting for the Georgia House District 129 Special Primary Election today. “But, if it’s only a small majority of people I think we should continue it.”

The General Assembly will convene in January, and tt remains to be seen if they’ll consider eliminating runoffs.

Early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the District 129 Special Primary Election at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building ends on Friday, December 16th. Election day is on Tuesday, December 20th, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at designated precincts.

If there is to be a runoff election, it will be on January 17th.