Georgia’s Relapsed Runoff

Senator Raphael Warnock (left) and Herschel Walker (right) to participate in the Georgia runoff election. Photo

Senator Raphael Warnock (left) and Herschel Walker (right) to participate in the Georgia runoff election. Photo

Peyton Koutrakos

A nationwide déjà vu spreads as the people of Georgia are driven into their second runoff in two years. Since neither candidate, Democrat Raphael Warnock or Republican Herschel Walker, received the required amounts of votes to win, a runoff election will serve as a tie-breaker between the two (The Washington Post).

The Rundown

In determining the winner of the general election, Georgia’s law states that the winner must have 50% of the votes or higher (Newsweek). If the 50% is not achieved, the state precedes into a runoff. In the 2022 Georgia general election, the incumbent Senator Warnock received 49.4% while Republican challenger Herschel Walker received 48.5% of the votes. The remaining 2.1% was earned by Independent party candidate, Chase Oliver, but only the two top percentages compete in the runoff (The Associated Press).The runoff election commences on the 28th day following the general election and the voters will cast their votes on December 6th. 

Control Over Senate

Unlike the previous runoff, Georgia does not bear the weight of dictating the Senate majority. The unexpected results from Arizona and Nevada tipped the Senate in the Democrats favor. However, these run-off results still matter. Co-President of Ramapo’s Democrats Club, senior Clara Bennett-Jones, believes, “too many Democrats are complacent because they know that regardless of what happens in Georgia, their party controls the vote because of Kamala Harris’ tiebreaker. However, the runoff is still so important, because 51-49 would mean a Democratic majority in every committee, which would eliminate the time waster on floor votes for discharge petitions.” It’s clear that the results of the runoff will impact the future of Congress, Democrats. and Republicans. 

Voting in Georgia’s Runoff

Many view Georgia’s runoff voting laws as controversial, citing their historical ties to Jim Crow laws. According to the Washington Post, the purpose of runoffs has been to perpetuate the unchecked power of those who historically have had political authority. This results in some voters feeling disenfranchised with the process. Moreover, there is concern from both parties connected to the extended campaign season and possible discouragement and low voting turnout. Mrs. Vander Molen, a Ramapo History teacher, explains that “with so much at stake and candidates that have views that span the full length of the political spectrum, voters are determined to get their voices heard.” She points out that the “results are not as immediate as the population hopes for” due to the revised and “[varied] polling times and access to polling places, results can trickle in, leaving voters hanging in the balance while the votes are being collected and counted.”         

Once again, Georgia’s election is playing an important role in future congressional decision making. For this reason, the runoff draws attention throughout the United States. On December 6th, all eyes will be on Georgia.