Not Over Yet: SoS Runoffs in Georgia, Louisiana

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Election Day 2018 is behind us in most of the country, but in two states – Georgia and Louisiana – the race for Secretary of State requires one more round of voting. The Journal-Constitution has more from Georgia:

Georgia’s secretary of state race appeared to be poised for a runoff, with neither Republican Brad Raffensperger nor Democrat John Barrow receiving more than half of Tuesday’s vote. 

With less than 2 percent of the vote outstanding, Raffensperger had a slight lead over Barrow, though both were just short of the necessary halfway mark. Libertarian Smythe DuVal appeared to secure a couple of percentage points in the three-way race. 

If Raffensperger, a state representative, or Barrow, a former U.S. congressman, do not receive more than 50 percent of the vote when all the ballots are counted, the two will face off again Dec. 4 in a runoff election. 

Whoever becomes secretary of state will have a major job ahead of him. The winner of the race will be responsible for protecting voters’ rights and overseeing the replacement of the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting machines. 

Louisiana – where all candidates run on Election Day with the top two proceeding to a runoff – will see a race between the interim SoS and a surprise second-place finisher, according to the Advocate:

The runoff to decide the next secretary of state will be between a Republican who spent about a quarter of a million dollars and a Democrat who raised less than a thousand.

Democratic candidate Gwen Collins-Greenup, a lawyer from Clinton, and interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican from Baton Rouge, will meet for a Dec. 8 runoff after an abbreviated and somewhat lackluster race to fill out the final year of the term of longtime Secretary of State Tom Schedler. He abruptly resigned in May after being accused of sexually harassing an employee.

Ardoin has run once, unsuccessfully, for the state Legislature. And Collins-Greenup’s sole foray into elective politics was a failed attempt to become the East Feliciana Parish clerk of court.

As Schedler’s nuts-and-bolts administrator for the past eight years, Ardoin took over in May after his boss resigned. Though Ardoin promised not to run for the office, he decided otherwise in July, saying the other candidates would need on-the-job training while he could step in seamlessly.

Collins-Greenup has 20 years of experience in government, small business and courts administration. She’s been an elections commissioner. She said she wants the Secretary of State’s Office to engage more with voters and young people to build up more participation in elections.

Ardoin said Louisiana has broken voter turnout records for presidential balloting with about 69 percent voting in the past two elections. Collins-Greenup has noted that lower interest elections bring about 15 percent of the voters to polls.

With all the precincts counted, the unofficial tally gave Ardoin 21 percent, or 298,637 votes. Collins-Greenup followed with 9,584 fewer votes, polling 20 percent of the total.

The winners of both runoffs will have big jobs ahead of them, as Georgia faces scrutiny over its aging touchscreen voting technology (not to mention the aftermath of the legal battles associated with the hard-fought and closely-watched Governor’s race) and Louisiana wrestles with a contentious procurement process to upgrade its voting machines. Unfortunately, those runoffs aren’t likely to see Tuesday’s stratospheric turnout, even though they will shape elections in those states for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned …

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