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County Unit System - Bibb County Schools

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County Unit System
The 1917 Neil Primary Act established a county unit system for political
primaries. At this time in Georgia, the Democratic Party was the only active
political party in the state. This meant that the outcome of the primary
elections and the general elections were usually the same.
• Under the county unit system, the winner of the popular vote in each county
received the “unit” votes for that county.
• This system gave each county a given number of “units” based on the size
of the population
Smaller, rural areas had more voting units per person than the large urban
areas.
Eight Most Populous Counties, 1920
Fulton County
Chatham County
Bibb County
Richmond County
Muscogee County
Dekalb County
Floyd County
Laurens County
Total Unit Votes
232,606
100,032
71,304
63,692
44,195
44,051
39,841
39,605
8 X 6 votes=
48units
•The next 30 counties had
4 county unit votes= 120
•The remaining 121 counties
had 2 county unit votes=242
**The 38 largest counties had
2/3 of Georgia’s voters, but
The other 121 counties
together could decide a state
election.
Look at the table below and explain what is unfair about the
county unit system.
C o u n ty
# o f v o tin g
P o p u la tio n
u n its
E c h o ls
1 ,8 7 6
1
F u lto n
5 5 6 ,3 2 6
3
G la s c o c k
2 ,6 7 2
1
Q u itm a n
2 ,4 3 2
1
Those Who Opposed the County
Unit System
•
•
•
Mostly urban citizens
County Unit System concentrated political
power in the hands of rural counties even
though the population growth in GA was in the
cities and urban areas.
It allowed people to be elected to office without
a majority of the state’s popular vote.
Those Who were in favor of
the county unit vote
• The County Unit System was fair
because it allowed the smaller and
less populated counties to have
the same power and influence as
the larger counties
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