Georgia secretary of state moves away from voting access message

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has stopped touting Georgia’s voting access policies as the General Assembly considers rolling some of them back.

Until this month, press releases and announcements from the secretary of state’s office always ended with a paragraph boasting that Georgia was the first state in the country with automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.

Those policies could be changed this legislative session. The Senate passed a bill to end no-excuse absentee voting, and the House approved a bill that would limit Sunday voting. A proposal to stop automatically registering voters at driver’s license offices didn’t advance.

“We’re working on new language to highlight the successes of the new voting system used in 2020,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said. “For the first time in the history of Georgia, voters are empowered to confirm their votes with an auditable paper ballot without fear of overvotes” on voting machines that prevent voters from selecting multiple candidates for the same position.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta, said the secretary of state’s office is sending a mixed message.

“As far as I can tell, the secretary of state has been playing both sides,” Nguyen said. “On the one hand, the secretary of state has been very forthcoming about no voter fraud in the elections. On the other hand, they’re supporting some aspects of the voter suppressive bills.”

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Providing the facts and context that help readers understand the current debate over voting laws is a priority for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For a better understanding of the issues driving Legislative action, click on these links.

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Raffensperger has supported the elimination of no-excuse absentee voting. He hasn’t taken a position on most other voting bills besides backing stronger voter ID requirements.

A dozen bills that would change election laws have passed either the House or Senate, and they’re being debated in committees this week.


Removed language from secretary of state’s emails

“Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record turnout in 2020, with over 1.3 million absentee by mail voters and over 3.6 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.”