Now that Tuesday’s runoff elections have decided the remaining races from the May 21 general primaries, Georgians don’t have to think about going to the polls again until the Nov. 5 general election.

While the November election will draw much higher turnout because of the presidential race at the top of the ballot, it will actually have fewer contested local county and statehouse races on the ballot for voters to decide.

This is because many counties lean so heavily Democratic or Republican that the opposition party often doesn’t bother to field a candidate. The same is true for state House and Senate districts, because they’ve been so heavily gerrymandered in successive redistrictings to favor one party’s candidates that very few are considered competitive in a general election matchup. (Nonpartisan races, like judicial elections, are decided in the primaries by tallying the Democratic, Republican, and nonpartisan primary ballots.)

All 56 state Senate seats and 180 House seats are up for reelection this year. But just five of these 236 legislative seats are considered competitive under Georgia’s current House and Senate district maps, according to Fair Districts GA, a redistricting advocacy group. For the 180 state House races, only half have both a Democratic and a Republican candidate, according to Ballotpedia. It’s even worse for the state Senate races. Out of 56 seats, 33 of them, or 59%, aren’t contested.

In metro-Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton Counties skew heavily Democratic, so for county-wide offices, the Democratic primary generally decides the race. This most recent primary election cycle was no exception.

For instance, in DeKalb’s CEO race, Lorraine Cochran-Johnson defeated Larry Johnson in Tuesday’s primary runoff. That makes Cochran-Johnson DeKalb’s CEO-elect, since she faces no Republican opponent in November.

In fact, the Democratic primary decided all seven county-wide offices on the ballot in DeKalb.

For Fulton County, only one of five county-wide offices will be contested in the November general election: Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis has a Republican challenger, Courtney Kramer. The other four offices were decided in the Democratic primary.

When also considering the county-wide races for the other metro-Atlanta counties — Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinnett — a clear pattern emerges: Hardly anyone running for a county office has an opponent in November.

All six of Clayton’s county-wide offices on the ballot were decided in the Democratic primary.

In Cobb, only the races for sheriff and state court clerk will be contested by both Democratic and Republican candidates in November – out of seven possible county-wide elections. The others were decided in the primaries.

Meanwhile in Gwinnett, only three of six county-wide races – for county commission chair, sheriff, and tax commissioner – will be contested in November.

Differently put, across Atlanta’s five metro counties, less than 20% of the countywide offices that are up for election will be decided on Nov. 5, which is the election that most voters participate in.

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