That these Republicans have realized that the process they created could be improved is a positive development. The motives behind this shift, however, are transparently insincere and opportunistic. Democrats will not have words, out of context, twisted to support a new narrative.
There was no widespread fraud in Georgia’s recent elections. Three recounts, including a hand recount, demonstrated that definitively. Georgia voters made their voices heard in November, and again in January. Now, the Georgia Republican Party is doing everything in its power to maintain its grip on state government.
My position has not changed. I remain steadfast in my belief that voter confidence is paramount. The problem is, the legislative steps Georgia Republicans have taken do not address voter confidence, but rather voter access.
If the GOP was truly concerned about confidence, they would be moving to create a more transparent process. Steps we could take include sponsoring voter education and outreach, requiring audits of any races that go into a recount, eliminating QR codes on ballots and moving to OCR technology, and offering hand-marked paper ballots to in-person voters.
On the contrary, the steps Republicans have taken are laser-focused on restricting access to the ballot box and making it more difficult for the people of our state to make their voices heard. They continue to trot out discredited and disproven accusations of voter fraud to justify these steps, thereby further undermining voter confidence in a cynical attempt to make it easier to reject and overturn the next electoral outcome that does not go in their favor.
Public trust cannot and will not be restored in our election system by striking at the very heart of democracy – by chipping away at what the word “democracy” means and who it includes. In 2020, Georgia voters participated in the electoral process in record-breaking numbers. In large part, their turnout was due to both the legislature and federal courts recognizing and then dismantling barriers to the ballot box after the 2018 elections.
Rather than changing their platform in order to persuade voters with the power of their ideas, Georgia Republicans are now trying to change the electorate.
State Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, represents District 42.