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This Day in Georgia History

June 03, 1941

Political Terms Extended

Georgia voters ratified a constitutional amendment extending the term of office of governor and constitutional officers from two years to four, effective with the November 1942 general election. Turnout for the amendment was small, with a vote of 50,130 for and 30,190 against. Then-governor Eugene Talmadge campaigned in support of the amendment, hoping to succeed to a four-year term. However, in the 1942 Democratic primary, Talmadge would lose to Ellis Arnall, largely because of his attempts to have the State Board of Regents fire two educational administrators - one at the University of Georgia and one at Georgia Teachers’ College in Statesboro - because of their racial views. His interference gained national publicity and resulted in public colleges in Georgia losing their accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Outrage in Georgia was immediate - particularly from college students. As a result, Ellis Arnall beat Talmadge with a promise to reform the role of the governor in state government - particularly in educational affairs.