Georgia’s ‘Unit Voting’ Scheme Allowed By Federal Courts

1950

A Georgia law establishes a primary voting system in which the popular vote of each county determines which candidate wins that county. Each county is then assigned a certain number of unit votes and the winner of the most unit votes wins the election. Because urban counties have many more voters than rural counties, some saw equating the votes of the two counties as unfair.

Because each rural voter would have the same impact as several urban voters, the rural voters had a much larger impact on the outcome of the election. In South v. Peters, the plaintiffs argue that this system violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and the 17th Amendment’s call for direct election. The U.S. Supreme Court allows the law, saying that the problem is a political one that should be left to the state government.