July 6, 2022

The Republicans of Georgia are moving closer to capturing elections in the state’s largest county

A letter sent Friday to the State Electoral Board signed by Georgian Speaker Pro Tempore John Jones and four other Republican members of the Georgia House said, “We need a review to ensure voter confidence in our election and to correct shortcomings in the electoral process” The district represents 10% of the state’s population. “

The ability of state legislators to induce performance appraisals of local election officials a Controversial new voting law in Georgia. The law empowers the state election board to replace a district election board after a performance review or investigation and to appoint a temporary administrator with broad powers to oversee the election administration and the turnout.

This week’s move by Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly has alerted voting rights advocates, S.P.

Lauren Groh-Vargo, chief executive of Fight Fight Action, a voting rights group, said this week that Republicans are “carrying out anti-democratic, non-partisan coups.”

Fulton County President Rob Pitts, a Democrat, vowed to fight what he called “the first official move” in the “hostile takeover” of county elections.

“We are exploring every legal option at the table and I hope we will win against these attacks that look more like political theater than good governance,” he said in a statement.

A source familiar with the conversations told CNN that Pitts discussed legal options with lawyers this week, but his office declined to disclose details of a possible strategy at this time.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have targeted Fulton County amid false claims that President Joe Biden has won the state by electoral fraud. Biden’s victory – the first victory for a Democrat in Georgia in nearly three decades – was certified last December after three votes, and judges dismissed several cases alleging fraud.

County election activities, including Atlanta, have been the subject of intense scrutiny for years. Officials monitored the June 2020 primary with long-standing voting taxes and complaints that voters had failed to receive their absentee ballots by post. Subsequent elections, including the January 2021 Senate by-election, appeared to be running more smoothly.

Carter Jones, an independent observer appointed by the state to review the activities of Fulton County, told the state election board earlier this year that he found signs of “systemic disorder” in the election office. But he said “there is no evidence of illegality, fraud or intentional abuse.”

In an email to CNN, Fulton County Election Director Richard Barron He described the steps his office has taken to make voting easier by 2020 – accepting grants to improve operations, widely distributing drop boxes and installing mobile voting buses to reach more voters during epidemics. New Georgia law prevents or restricts those activities in future elections.

Baron said Republican lawmakers “want to repeat lies to convince people that they are real before the 2022 primary and general elections.” “Our strategy for 2021-22 is to improve legal opportunities in transparent areas to ensure better service to the electorate in Bulton.”

In a letter Friday, Jones and other members of the House of Representatives who heard Georgia’s performance review endorsed it, saying “this may be the basis for the removal of one of the local election officials by the state election board, but it’s an important step.”

State Senate President Pro Tempo Butch Miller, a Republican who signed a Senate letter calling for a review, said “no one suspects Fulton County has experienced organizational problems.”

“We believe the incompetence of election officials will lead to long queues. Voters did not vote in a timely manner.” He said in a statement. “That’s what suppresses the vote.”

This week’s letter is the first in a series of steps under the new electoral law, and may take months to finalize. The state election board has 30 days to appoint an independent three-member review board.

Action is coming in Georgia Democrats in Congress are looking for a way to revive paralyzed federal law It will lay the groundwork for nationwide voting rules. Several Democratic senators have introduced a comprehensive bill restricting the ability of state election boards to remove local election officials — a handful of Senate Democrats are negotiating this week.

But any attempt to change the electoral laws will face lengthy controversy in the equally divided U.S. Senate, unless Democrats who support the room’s 60-vote limit on advancing the law agree to a rule change.