The 2018 election season has finally ended. It’s over. Finis. Which means that the time is now ripe to take a cold-eyed, dispassionate and non-partisan look at the Mystery of the Missing 100,000 Votes. This is not about Georgia’s race for governor, but about the lieutenant governor’s contest. And the puzzle isn’t hidden, but sits on the secretary of state’s public website, staring at us like one of Edgar Allan Poe’s purloined letters. Let us begin the hunt by saying that Sarah Riggs Amico, the Democrat who lost to Republican Geoff Duncan by 123,172 votes on Nov. 6, is not asking for a do-over. Yes, a lawsuit has been filed challenging the results, but she is not a party to it. Amico is more interested in finding an explanation. “I don’t think this needs to be looked at as a question of outcome. It needs to be looked at as a question of election integrity,” the former candidate said Monday at the Cobb County headquarters of her family’s trucking firm. Given that the state Legislature is about to embark on a fierce and expensive debate over the replacement of thousands of voting machines in all 159 counties, her search could be an important one.
Every other November, in general elections, Georgia voters are asked to plow through a long ballot. Usually, though not always, a race for governor or the U.S. Senate tops a long list, followed by contests for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and so on.
With each down-ballot contest, more voters bleed away. In election after election, graphs of the phenomenon resemble a gentle, downward slope.
That’s not what happened on Nov. 6. The pattern changed rather suspiciously.
In the race for governor, 3,939,328 voters cast a ballot. But in the No. 2 race for lieutenant governor, 159,024 of those voters – about 4 percent — dropped away.