Slim majorities of voters feel confident in Georgia’s elections and reject claims of fraud about the 2020 presidential contest, according to a poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The poll showed elections rank among the top issues for Georgians at the beginning of an election year.
Republicans, especially, said they still lack faith that elections are conducted fairly and accurately following false claims that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Multiple recounts and investigations have upheld the results.
Overall, about 56% of Georgians were confident in the fairness of this year’s upcoming elections. Among Republicans, 74% said there was widespread fraud in 2020, and over half doubted the integrity of upcoming elections compared with a quarter of Democrats.
The poll shows that deep misgivings about elections remain in the fallout of the presidential election in Georgia, a state where voters are sharply divided along partisan lines over voting access and security.
Elections and voting were the No. 1 issues facing Georgia, according to poll respondents, with 24% listing them higher than other priorities such as the economy, crime and the coronavirus pandemic.
The AJC poll involved 872 registered Georgia voters and was conducted Jan. 13-24 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. The margin of error is 3.3 percentage points.
Several voters who took the poll said they had mixed feelings about the integrity of Georgia’s elections.
“If there’s a way for somebody to cheat, somebody will probably find a way to do that, but I don’t think it was the disaster that some people think it was,” said Amy Clark of Powder Springs, who works in payroll and benefits. “There’s probably some problems, but it’s probably on both sides.”
Other voters said they have gained confidence in elections since 2020.
Brian Michmerhuizen of Spalding County said he was concerned about fraud but investigations put his fears to rest. Election officials recounted every ballot by hand and debunked allegations of counterfeit ballots, incorrect signatures on absentee ballot envelopes and inaccurate results.
“There may have been fraud in the 2020 election. I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” said Michmerhuizen, a retiree who worked in hiring and training. “I’m pretty confident now that everything has been reviewed. The amount of effort they put into it, anyone would be foolish to miscount or hide votes in this next election.”
A plurality of voters, 44%, supported making ballot drop boxes widely available as they were in 2020. Georgia’s voting law passed last year authorized drop boxes but limited them to in-person early voting locations and hours.
Drop boxes were especially popular among Democrats, 80% of whom supported broad accessibility. Most Republicans, 51%, wanted drop boxes to be eliminated entirely.
Bobby Lowery, an engineer from Dacula, said drop boxes should be closely watched at all times. Otherwise, he said he felt the risk of problems was too great.
“That’s too much like asking people to cheat. It’s like throwing a $10 bill on the ground and not thinking someone is going to pick it up,” Lowery said. “If you have them, they need to be monitored.”
Most voters supported Georgia’s voting system that was installed before the 2020 election, which uses touchscreens that print out paper ballots.
About 55% said the state should keep the voting system rather than replace it with paper ballots filled out by hand. Some election integrity advocates say hand-marked paper ballots would be less vulnerable to hacking, but supporters of Georgia’s system say paper ballots can verify the accuracy of electronic results.
Alice Williams of Loganville said she’ll be motivated to vote in this year’s elections after Georgia’s voting law reduced drop box availability, required more ID for absentee voting and allowed the state to take over county election boards.
“If you don’t have a problem with people voting, why are you trying to keep them from voting?” said Williams, who is retired from social services work. “I have no concerns about election integrity. There wasn’t fraud. People voted like they wanted to vote.”
Georgia 2020 election investigation
Between the Nov. 3 presidential election and Jan. 6, Georgia was at the center of the biggest election dispute of modern American history. AJC reporters worked day and night for months to capture the election results and multiple recounts, allegations of fraud, investigations, legislative hearings, lawsuits, protests, rallies, press conferences. Here are stories from our ongoing coverage.
The poll was conducted Jan. 13-24 for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. It questioned 872 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
The Georgia General Assembly curtailed the availability of absentee ballot drop boxes as part of the state’s overhaul of voting laws last year. Which of the following comes closest to your opinion on this issue?
Drop boxes should remain inside early voting locations and available during voting hours – 28%
Drop boxes should be eliminated entirely – 25%
Drop boxes should be widely available and accessible to voters – 44%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 3%
Do you believe there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election?
Yes – 38%
No – 56%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 7%
Overall, how confident are you that the 2022 November election will be conducted fairly and accurately? Are you...
Very confident – 23%
Somewhat confident – 33%
Not so confident – 25%
Not at all confident – 16%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 2%
In 2019 the state spent $138 million on a new voting system than uses touchscreens to print out paper ballots. Do you support or oppose replacing this system with paper ballots that would be filled out by hand?
Strongly support – 20%
Somewhat support – 14%
Somewhat oppose – 20%
Strongly oppose – 35%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 11%
Poll information: The survey was administered by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. The AJC-SPIA Poll was conducted Jan. 13-24 and included a total of 872 registered voters in Georgia. The calculated margin of error for the total sample is +/-3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.