ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - The man charged with overseeing Georgia’s elections is defending a recently passed bill that will make several changes to election procedures in the state, even though the new measure strips some of his power away.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says the new law will protect voter integrity and provides an objective way to verify absentee ballot voters.
The Republican says any calls of voter suppression are not based in fact.
“We’ve expanded early voting. It was 16 days, set as the minimum in the state. It’s now set as 17. We also allow the counties that want to do this, they can have two additional Sundays of voting, which makes it 19 days. That is a record. So, we’ve actually expanded access, and no one’s talking about that,” Raffensperger said.
The Secretary of State is set to be a hotly contested race in the next election cycle. Republican congressman Jody Hice has already announced his intentions to run against Raffensperger- and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Raffensperger released a statement last week on the debate over the bill:
“The cries of ‘voter suppression’ from those on the left ring as hollow as the continuously debunked claims of ‘mass voter fraud’ in Georgia’s 2020 election,” Raffensperger said. “We don’t have systemic voter suppression, and we don’t have mass voter fraud. What we have is systemic lies for political gain that have led to a loss of public confidence in our elections.”
The New York Times wrongly reported Thursday that Georgia “passed a sweeping law to restrict voting access in the state.” CNN is breathlessly reporting on Georgia’s “new law suppressing voting access.” Stacey Abrams is no doubt fund-raising off her absurd – and offensive – suggestion that this law is “Jim Crow 2.0.”
“These narratives are as lazy, biased and political as they are demonstrably wrong,” Raffensperger said.
“There’s no rational argument against requiring state ID – provided for free to those who don’t have a driver’s license – for absentee ballots,” Raffensperger said. “I implemented our first version of that last year; every absentee ballot request that came in through the state website was cross-referenced with the driver’s license database and other records. This also requires counties to offer more weekend voting and puts drop boxes into law for the first time – the State Board of Elections adopted them as an emergency measure last year in response to the pandemic. Absentee ballot drop boxes would have gone away without direct action by the General Assembly.
“The left said that photo ID for in-person voting would suppress votes. It didn’t. Registration and turnout soared, hitting new records with each election cycle. Their cataclysmic predictions about the effects of this law are simply baseless. The next election will prove that, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the left and the media to admit they were wrong.”
“I’m a conservative Republican, but I’ve proven I’ll take a political hit to treat everyone equally under the law and stand up for the rights of all Georgians. The national media loved what I was saying when it differed from the views of President Trump. I hope they’re as interested in my point of view now that it differs with Stacey Abrams.”