Raffensperger thinks 2024 turnout will blow the doors off

Published 9:00 am Friday, June 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joined the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce for its Legislative Luncheon on Thursday to provide a legislative update and discuss elections.

As secretary of state, Raffensperger implemented the largest voting machine purchase in the country, helping modernized Georgia’s election system by adding its first auditable paper ballot system. Raffensperger is also the first secretary of state to pass legislation requiring photo ID for all forms of voting, said former State Representative Randy Nix.

County Commissioner Patrick Crews noted Troup County has just been through two special municipal elections and is currently going through a third, but voter turnout is extremely low. Crews asked Raffensperger if that is just the norm right now statewide.

Raffensperger said he too is guilty of skipping local elections sometimes, saying it’s easy to miss them when life gets busy with other things. He said that’s unfortunate because local elections are often more important than national ones.

“I believe the most important elected office in America, I have said this before, it’s actually school boards. Because that directly determines what gets taught with the direction of your schools and the support that the schools get in the area. But local politics are so important because you’re determining the direction of your cities, your towns and your counties,” Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said he was elected in a special election much like the current District 1 city council race between Jim Arrington and Terry Stanford.

“I actually was elected [to the Georgia House] in a special election … One of the things that happens when you get elected in a special election is it keeps you humble,” Raffensperger said, noting special elections often have low turnouts.

Before running for the state house, Raffensperger served two years as a city councilman for John’s Creek, Georgia.

Raffensperger said his first election for city council was not a special election, but it kept him humble.

“When you’re in a runoff and in a city of 85,000 people, and we have about 5% show up for that election, it keeps you humble. You figure out what that percentage is and how many people voted for you. Even though you may have gotten 60%, when 2,500 people voted for you in a city of 85,000, that is not a mandate,” Raffensperger said.

“It’s always good to enter public service humble. Understand that you work for the people and a lot of folks didn’t vote, but they still want their city to run well. They still want their county to run well.”

As for larger elections, Raffensperger thinks turnout will only increase.

“In 2022, we had the highest turnout in the entire southeast, with 80 percent of all active voters turned out to vote. That was top 15 in the whole country. Historically, we’ve not been that high, so people are engaged in the process,” Raffensperger said.

“People are paying attention at the national level,” Raffensperger said. “We had 4 million people voting in 2020 In a global pandemic. I’m thinking what’s to stop people from voting next year? I think 5 million. I think we will blow the doors off and will have an increase in registrations.”