Georgia GOP Requests Performance Review Of Fulton County Election Official In Step Toward Taking Over Elections
Georgia Republicans have requested a performance review of a top Fulton County election official.
State Sen. Butch Miller (R) submitted the request for a panel review of Richard Barron, Fulton County’s election director.
According to Miller’s letter, lawmakers believe Barron failed to perform risk-limiting audits after the 2020 election. “We do so as a measure of last resort, having failed to adequately assuage the concern that we, as elected officials, have regarding the integrity of the Fulton County elections process,” Miller wrote.
Fulton County has the highest concentration of Democratic voters in the state, and many observers view this move as an attempt by Republicans to take over the county’s electoral process to reduce turnout.
Fulton County has suffered from electoral malfunctions in the past, namely in June 2020, when voting machine difficulties caused long lines and voter frustration.
However, after that incident, there were few reports of electoral complications. For example, the presidential election of November 2020 ran fairly smoothly. President Joe Biden swept the county with over 72% of the vote.
Still, Republicans are calling for a review of the county’s elections.
Republican State Rep. Chuck Martin said he supports the review. “Mine is not with an eye on taking over elections,” said Martin. “This just seems to be the only way we can get data to get answers for the people we represent.”
Democrats, on the other hand, are against a review, saying it might undermine the integrity of future elections.
Lauren Groh-Wargo, chief executive of Fair Fight Action, a Democratic voting rights group, issued a statement on the move: “After giving themselves unprecedented power under Senate Bill 202, Republicans wasted no time in waging an anti-democratic, partisan power grab, attempting to seize control of elections in Georgia’s largest county, home to the greatest number of voters of color in the state. Their partisan efforts risk election subversion.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) joined fellow Georgia GOP members in backing the request. “I have called repeatedly for change in Fulton’s elections leadership, so I’m glad Republican legislators are joining me in this effort,” said Raffensperger. “After Fulton’s failures last June, I required Fulton to accept a monitor during the general election and runoffs, and forced the county into a consent agreement to start fixing their management problems.”