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GOP-Controlled Georgia Board Launches Probe In Possible Takeover Of Atlanta Elections From Local Officials

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 18, 2021


The Republican-controlled Georgia State Election Board took a major step on Wednesday toward stripping power from local election officials in heavily Democratic Atlanta, using a new power granted in Georgia’s sweeping voting restrictions bill to launch a “performance review” investigating how past elections—including the 2020 presidential election—were handled in Fulton County.

Key Facts

The board voted unanimously to appoint a bipartisan panel to conduct the performance review in Fulton County, a heavily Democratic stronghold which includes 90% of the city of Atlanta.

The basis for the review is to examine vote counting and absentee ballot processing in the county, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, even though claims of widespread fraud made by former President Donald Trump and parroted by other Republican officials have been continuously disproven.

The panel overseeing the probe is tasked with investigating competency in the oversight of local elections, as well as ensuring local officials have complied with state election rules.

The State Election Board could suspend the county board and appoint its own administrator if the investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing.

To get to that point, the panel would have to find Fulton County officials either violated state election rules three or more times since 2018 or engaged in acts of “nonfeasance, malfeasance, or gross negligence” in at least two elections over the past two years.

Chief Critic

“This is the result of a cynical ploy to undermine faith in our elections process and democracy itself—it is shameful partisan politics at its worst,” Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Key Background

Multiple recounts of the 2020 presidential election results affirmed President Joe Biden’s win over Trump there by about 12,000 votes. That made Biden the first Democratic nominee to carry the long reliably red state since 1992—a fact that appeared to be of particular embarrassment for Trump, who berated election officials about the results. At one point, Trump even called Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked him to “find” votes in order to overturn the election. Major GOP losses in the state mounted in January, when both of the Republican U.S. Senate incumbents lost to Democratic challengers, flipping control of the Senate to Democrats. But Republicans, still in control of state government, would go on to pass a slate of new voting restrictions earlier this year that Democrats decried as a “voter suppression bill.” In addition to potentially curtailing local election officials’ authority, the legislation put limits on the number of ballot drop boxes allowed in each county, and added new rules making it harder to vote by mail.

Surprising Fact

The lone Democrat on the State Election Board, Sara Tindall Ghazal, voted along with the board’s three Republicans in authorizing the performance review. Ghazal said the review is required to move forward under the new state law since Republican state legislators from Fulton County requested it.

Further Reading

Panel appointed to investigate Fulton election problems (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Sweeping Georgia Voting Restrictions Signed Into Law (Forbes)

Stacey Abrams-Founded Group Sues Georgia Over ‘Voter Suppression Bill’ (Forbes)

Georgia Recertifies Biden’s Win After Trump-Ordered Recount Fails Again (Forbes)


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