Politics Georgia's Brad Raffensperger, Who Handles Elections, Wasn't Invited to Draft New Voting Law
Georgia voting law explained: Here's what to know about the state's new election rules
Republican lawmakers in Georgia have overhauled the state's elections. Here's a breakdown of what will change under Senate Bill 202.Democrats and civil-rights groups panned the voting bill, and major Georgia-based corporations came out against the bill after it was passed. GOP state lawmakers who backed the bill and other Republicans nationwide harshly criticized the backlash, calling for boycotts of brands like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said that his office, despite the fact that it's responsible for overseeing elections, wasn't asked to help draft the final version of the state's new voting law.
The Republican secretary of state told the Washington Examiner in an exclusive interview published Thursday that he and his staff weren't invited to assist lawmakers in shaping the final piece of the legislation.
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Georgia’s secretary of state blasphemed against Trump, and that’s all that matters to his fellow Republicans.Trouble is, according to that survey, Raffensperger is more popular among Democrats than his own Republicans. Yet as he reminded everyone after the recent enactment of Georgia’s highly controversial new law restricting voting opportunities, his views on the core responsibilities of his job as the state’s election director are still very Republican. Indeed, he seems to love the new law — except for a provision that removes him as head of the State Election Board.
"We were not asked to really be part of it after what happened after the 2020 elections," Raffensperfger said, in an apparent reference to him refusing to go along with former's baseless claims of election fraud. "But now, here we are, and we're now speaking about the good parts of the bill."
The new law was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Brian Kemp in late March. The 96-page bill is an overhaul of the state's electoral process, and contains new restrictions on absentee voting while also expanding some early voting opportunities.
Some of the legislation's most contentious provisions include a ban on giving voters waiting in line food or water, new voter ID requirements for voters who cast their ballot by mail and the limitations places on drop boxes.
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The law also stripped power from the secretary of state, making Raffensperger a nonvoting member of the State Election Board. It also gives the board, which is made up of members appointed by the state legislature, new powers to intervene in local elections.
Raffensperger told the Washington Examiner that provision was "retribution" after fallout from the 2020 presidential race. The secretary of state was heavily criticized by Trump and his conservative allies for disputing their baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
His office is also currently investigating Trump's attempts to overturn the state's election results, including a January 2 phone call during which the former president asked Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to make him the winner.
The Republican changes follow Democratic wins in the presidential contest and tworunoffs in the once reliably red state.
Fact check: Republicans falsely equate Georgia and Colorado election laws
Republicans have blasted Major League Baseball for moving its All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado because of Georgia's controversial new elections law. © Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 10: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing expanded statewide COVID testing on August 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recently a high school in Georgia had to switch back to virtual learning after 9 people tested positive for the coronavirus when the school opened for regular in-person classes.
Critics of Georgia's new voting measures have equated them to Jim Crow laws, arguing that they will disproportionately impact voters of color. Presidentdescribed the Georgia legislation, and others like it, as "sick" and "un-American."
Conservative supporters of the bill argue that the law was needed to restore confidence and integrity in elections after the 2020 race. Trump, though, weighed in on the debate on Wednesday, stating that the law was "too weak" and didn't go far enough.
When asked by The Hill recently about Trump's criticism, Raffensperger reiterated that he wasn't a part of crafting the bill, but noted he has been an opponent of no-excuse absentee voting.
"About whether I'm tough enough or not tough enough: I was not asked to weigh in on the bill at all," Raffensperger told the media outlet. "After the 2020 election, thethought they could handle that best."
Newsweek reached out to Raffensperger's office for additional comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication.
Fact check: Biden and Kemp misleadingly describe parts of Georgia elections law .
There are a lot of misleading claims being made about Georgia's controversial elections law. © AP/Getty Images And some of them are coming from the top. Both President Joe Biden, a Democrat who opposes the law, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican who signed it last week, misleadingly described the text of the law in interviews this week. Here is a breakdown of a Biden assertion and three Kemp assertions.