Fulton responds to possible elections takeover by Georgia Republicans

Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts speaks to members of the press during a news conference regarding a possible state takeover of the county's elections inside Assembly Hall at 141 Pryor St. in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Credit: Ben Brasch

Credit: Ben Brasch

Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts speaks to members of the press during a news conference regarding a possible state takeover of the county's elections inside Assembly Hall at 141 Pryor St. in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Fulton County’s top elected official has said he would fight any attempted state takeover of the county’s elections management, but how that fight would look is unclear.

Chairman Robb Pitts said Tuesday that a story on the front of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the prospect of Republican state officials taking over county elections “really was a wake-up call for me.”

The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed Senate Bill 202 this year, which allows the State Election Board to replace a county’s election board after a performance review/audit/investigation. Then, a temporary superintendent would have full managerial authority of how the county counts votes and staffs polling places.

Republicans would run elections in an area that heavily leans toward the Democrats.

Pitts says that is a problem because the bill is politically motivated and the stakes are nothing less than control of the U.S. Senate and governorship in 2022, and further federal control in 2024.

“I can’t let them get away with it in broad daylight,” he said at the news conference.

Pitts said Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants a takeover to gain favor with his party after not yielding to Donald Trump’s accusations that there were uncounted or fraudulent votes in Georgia.

Raffensperger tweeted out the article and wrote: “I have repeatedly called for the State Election Board to use its authority under SB202 to replace Fulton County’s elections leadership. Fulton’s voters deserve better than decades of poor management and long lines.”

When asked Tuesday, Pitts said he didn’t think a leadership change would be enough to slow the state’s efforts.

Pitts said outside legal counsel has joined the county attorney in looking for judicial avenues to block a takeover. Pitts declined to say what firm was helping nor the county’s strategy, but he said other local leaders may also want to start getting ready.

“Even though it’s Fulton County today, it could be any other county tomorrow,” he said.

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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