Voters should be able to vote for anyone they choose without artificial ballot access restrictions keeping certain candidates off the ballot. Georgia has some of the toughest ballot access laws in the nation for Independent and Third Party candidates. In practice, this means that most elections in Georgia go unopposed with only a single choice on the ballot. I want to break down these limits on competition and empower voters to vote for more candidates that more closely resemble their preferences.
Instant Runoff Voting
With more candidates on the ballot comes the “spoiler effect”. This is the concept that a voter has to not only decide who they would most like to vote for, but they also have to consider who has the best chance of winning. It causes voters to vote for the “lesser evil” instead of a candidate that reflects their values.
Instant Runoff Voting is a solution to that problem. It allows voters to rank their candidates in any order they like. If any candidate doesn’t get a majority of the vote in the first round, a second round of voting happens. Simply put, we can handle runoffs with the same ballot cast on the General Election day and not require voters to come back to the polls again. This will also increase voter turnout since it will be the same as the General Election every time.
Hand-marked Paper Ballots
Regardless of our political preferences, every Georgian deserves to be confident that their vote was counted accurately. The best way to do this is to remove the ambiguity of different voting machines, and return to the use of hand-marked paper ballots. Voters across the political spectrum agree that this would give them the confidence that their vote is counted and that an election is executed without fraud.
Same-Day Voter Registration
I want to ensure that every elligible voter in Georgia has the chance to let their voice be heard on election day. Over the years, bureaucracy has gotten in the way of this by making the process for registering to vote more difficult and tedious than it needs to be. At least 20 states already do same-day voter registration – there is no reason for Georgia to stay in the past.