Faith in Georgia elections on rise
73% of voters confident that 2022 results were fair and accurate.
Voters who filed into polling places in 2022 across Georgia expressed high confidence that the voting was conducted fairly and accurately in a recent Atlanta Journal- Constitution poll. MIGUEL MARTINEZ/AJC 2022

Two years after allegations of fraud in the presidential election that were never proved, voters have regained their trust in Georgia elections.

New polling by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that voter confidence rebounded from a low point following the 2020 contest, an increase in faith among both conservatives and liberals.

About 73% of registered voters said they were very confident or somewhat confident that November’s general election was conducted fairly and accurately, a stark shift from 56% of voters expressing confidence in January 2022, according to the AJC’s polling.

The poll also found that a majority said Georgia’s voting law passed after the 2020 election didn’t have a significant impact on those results.

The law, which limited drop boxes, shortened runoffs and eliminated paperless online absentee ballot applications, made no difference to 52% of poll respondents. About 22% said the law made voting easier, and 21% said it made voting harder.

Attitudes about election integrity changed after multiple investigations and court cases dismissed allegations of ineligible voters, counterfeit ballots, forged voter signatures and ballot-stuffing conspiracies at drop boxes.

“There’s very little fraud in this country — very little — and the fact that people question and bring up voter fraud every election is disturbing to me,” said Kenneth Lively, a high school teacher who lives near Lithonia and who participated in the poll. “I have faith that election officials are doing everything they can to be sure that everybody’s vote counts.”

The AJC poll included 860 registered Georgia voters and was conducted Jan. 9-20 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. The margin of error is 3.3 percentage points.

“Voter confidence is on the rise from where it was following all the misinformation that was being bandied about after the 2020  election,” said Daniel Griffith, senior policy director for Secure Democracy USA, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for increased election access for eligible voters. “A lot of credit goes to election administrators who are calling the bluff of the folks who are spreading these unfounded claims.”

A separate UGA poll released last week showed that 99% of voters reported no problems when voting in the general election, and just 4% reported having to wait more than 31 minutes to cast their ballots.

But there were lines lasting more than two hours in some locations during early voting for the runoff, caused in part by a compressed runoff period with high turnout.

Most counties opened polling places for just five days of early voting since Georgia’s voting law changed runoffs from nine weeks to four weeks after general elections.

State law still requires three weeks of early voting before general elections.

The Georgia General Assembly could consider proposals to end runoffs during this year’s legislative session. About 58% of voters surveyed in the AJC poll said the state should eliminate the requirement for a runoff election when no candidate in the general election wins a majority.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both of whom upheld the results of the 2020 election, said the UGA survey showed that it’s easy to vote in Georgia.

They said the state’s voting law didn’t deter voters.

“Yet again, the myth of voter suppression in Georgia fails to be supported by a shred of evidence,” Kemp said.

About 51% of registered voters turned out in November’s midterms, compared with 57% in 2018 and 65% in the 2020 presidential election.

Absentee voting rates declined after coronavirus concerns subsided and the voting law took effect, with about 6% of voters mailing their ballots last fall compared with 26% in 2020.

Republican legislators who supported Georgia’s election law have said they wanted to discourage remote voting as a way to boost confidence among skeptical voters.

Romesa Kaye Cox, a self-employed house cleaner from Winder, said she remains unconvinced about election integrity after she wasn’t able to vote in November.

She said poll workers told her that her voter registration matched someone else’s name and she would have to re-register.

“I’m not putting much faith in it right now,” Cox said. “But I don’t know if the voting law changed much, to be honest. I think it’s pretty easy to vote for certain people right now.”

By political party, 87% of poll respondents who identified themselves as liberals said they were confident in November’s election. About 61% percent of conservatives and 79% of moderates were confident in the election.