Georgia elections ranking improves to No. 11 in MIT study

High rates of voter turnout and registration boost state’s score
Decatur resident Tom Barry casts his ballot at the Evergreen Baptist Church during the Georgia presidential primary elections. on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

Decatur resident Tom Barry casts his ballot at the Evergreen Baptist Church during the Georgia presidential primary elections. on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Georgia’s elections ranked No. 11 in the nation, scoring above average in turnout, registration and mail ballot rejections in the 2022 elections, according to the Elections Performance Index by the MIT Election Data & Science Lab.

The new ranking is an improvement from Georgia’s position at No. 21 after the 2020 election and lower scores in prior years.

The Elections Performance Index is a biennial comparison of election administration across the country, relying on a combination of data and survey responses.

Georgia had the 13th-highest turnout in the midterm elections, at 53% of the eligible voting population with nearly 4 million ballots cast.

The state’s voter registration rate, at 86% of eligible citizens, was the 19th-best in the nation. There are nearly 8 million registered voters in Georgia.

Just 0.1% of absentee ballots were rejected, measured as a percentage of all votes cast in 2022, marking the latest year of declines in discarded ballots from a peak of 0.3% in 2016. Since then, state laws have simplified information required on absentee ballot envelopes and required ID numbers along with voter signatures to confirm identity.

Georgia’s ranking was hindered by categories based on survey responses rather than data.

Georgia scored worse than the national average on survey questions about registration problems, disability access and voting wait times.

The secretary of state’s office has said data showed average wait times of about two minutes in the 2022 general election, lower than the 9.7-minute wait time from an MIT survey of a sample of voters.

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