The fact that Georgia’s Senate races will be decided by runoffs is a quirk of the state’s electoral system that, like many electoral quirks, originates in efforts to limit the influence of the Black vote. The Georgia state law adopting the runoff model was the brainchild of Denmark Groover Jr., a Democratic state representative and avowed segregationist who blamed “Negro bloc voting” for his 1958 election defeat. After returning to office four years later, he proposed legislation adopting the runoff model, which would limit the chances of candidates’ splitting the votes of Georgia’s white majority. One Georgia newspaper at the time described the law matter-of-factly as “a means of circumventing what is called the Negro bloc vote.”
Audra D. S. Burch, “Knocking on Two Million Doors in Georgia”, The New York Times Magazine (3 January 2021), 24.