Politico

Georgia secretary of state speaks of election integrity


Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Sunday that he believes only American citizens should be voting in elections and that photo ID “is the most secure way of making sure you can identify who the voter is.”

Raffensperger, speaking Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” gave his thoughts on election integrity amid growing debate in Washington over Democratic efforts to pass federal elections reform. President Joe Biden will be traveling to Georgia on Tuesday to speak about efforts to undermine election outcomes and attempt to sell Democrats’ voting rights plan.

The elections process has come under a greater microscope since former President Donald Trump’s false allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election that metastasized into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol when Congress was set to certify Biden’s win. Since then, elections officials across the country have reported an alarming number of threats and some Republican-led states have passed more restrictive voting measures.

There are also growing concerns that Republican states could appoint or elect elections officials committed to undermining the will of the people for political gain.

Raffensperger, a Republican, gained national attention for rebuffing Trump’s attempts to intervene in Georgia’s 2020 election, which Biden narrowly won. Trump infamously told Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s results.

On CBS, Georgia’s top election official proposed a constitutional amendment restricting the right to vote to American citizens, citing recent moves in some U.S. cities allowing noncitizens to vote in municipal elections. He also said there should be a national law banning ballot harvesting and praised photo ID laws as being another “common sense” potential measure of federal reform instead of the voting provisions Biden will push this week.

Raffensperger also pushed back against efforts for same-day voter registration, which he said “undermines trust” in elections.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, speaking before Raffensperger on CBS, said the Democrats’ voting legislation — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — is critical “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and said Democrats will continue to work to secure the votes needed to pass the package in the Senate.

Raffensperger said a decline in trust in elections in Georgia had first started in 2018, when then-gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams declined to concede her race, and has continued through Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 elections. “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan pushed back on that statement, saying the two can’t be compared since Trump was a sitting president who inspired an attack on the Capitol.

Raffensperger is up for reelection, and he said Sunday that he will win. Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), who fought to overturn the 2020 election, has announced he will challenge Raffensperger in the Republican primary. Raffensperger noted that Hice had accepted election results in his own 2020 race from the same machines that he said were not trustworthy when it came to the presidential results.

“That’s a double-minded person, and as a pastor, he should know better,” Raffensperger said. “So I’m going to run on integrity, I’m going to run on the truth. I don’t know what he’s going to run on.”

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