Georgia GOP heading for Fulton County electoral takeover

Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly have called for an assessment of the performance of the top election official in Fulton Coun...


Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly have called for an assessment of the performance of the top election official in Fulton County, the first step in a possible takeover of the county’s electoral process that could give the legislature led by Republicans more control over an area with the highest concentration of Democrat voters in the state.

The request, submitted in a letter Tuesday by State Senator Butch Miller and signed by about two dozen other Republican state senators, calls for a review by a panel of Richard Barron, the county electoral officer, on what lawmakers have described as a failure to properly perform risk mitigation audits, a process that helps ensure correct outcomes and safety, after the 2020 election.

“We are doing this as a last resort, having failed to adequately allay the concerns that we as elected officials have about the integrity of the Fulton County electoral process,” Miller wrote in the statement. letter.

Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta, has a history of problems with its election. More recently, its June 2020 primary competition was marred by voting machine difficulties which were exacerbated by the small size and poor training of its staff, stretching the lines for hours across the county.

But the November general election and January runoff in the county went relatively well on each polling day, with few reports of long waits or other complications. There have been no legitimate questions about the accuracy of the results of the last three elections. In the presidential race, President Biden took the county with over 72 percent of the votes and over 380,000 votes.

The review process for local election officials is a critical new element of elections in Georgia after state Republicans adopted a radical new electoral law in April. It includes several provisions which lay the foundation for an extraordinary takeover of the electoral administration by partisan lawmakers.

Under the new law, the state election commission is allowed to replace members of the county election commission after a performance review or investigation. But the new law also restructures the state council, stripping the secretary of state of his authority and giving the legislature the ability to appoint members, including the president.

The letter, which was earlier reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was signed by three Republican members of the Fulton County delegation to the State Senate. The authors of the letter said they expected members of the Fulton County House delegation to join them, which would automatically begin the review.

State Representative Chuck Martin, a Republican member of the Fulton County House delegation, said he supported the request for a performance review and had also spoken to Jan Jones, the pro tempore speaker and another member of the delegation, who also supported an evaluation. .

“Mine is not about taking the lead in the elections,” Martin said in an interview Thursday. “It seems like the only way to get data to get answers for the people we represent.”

Mr. Barron, the electoral director for Fulton County, did not respond to requests for comment.

Democrats were quick to denounce the move, warning that it compromised the sanctity of future elections.

“After giving themselves unprecedented power under Senate Bill 202, Republicans wasted no time in leading an undemocratic and partisan takeover, attempting to take control of the elections in the greater Georgia County, which is home to the largest number of voters of color in the state, ”said Lauren Groh-Wargo, executive director of Fair Fight Action, a Georgia-based Democratic voting group. “Their partisan efforts risk electoral subversion. “

Brad Raffensperger, the Republican Secretary of State, supported the review.

“I have repeatedly called for a change in Fulton’s election leadership, so I’m happy that Republican lawmakers are joining me in this effort,” he said in a statement. “After Fulton’s failures last June, I asked Fulton to accept a monitor during the general election and the second round, and I forced the county to enter into a consent agreement to begin to sort out his problems. management.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Georgia GOP heading for Fulton County electoral takeover
Georgia GOP heading for Fulton County electoral takeover
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