The Republican sponsor of a measure that would allow the State Election Board to investigate Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asked Attorney General Chris Carr on Thursday to vet the constitutionality of the proposal.
The request from state Sen. Max Burns came after his general counsel wrote a letter saying Senate Bill 358 would violate the Georgia Constitution by allowing “unelected bureaucrats unchecked power over the state’s executive branch” and could lead to illegal election interference.
“This authority could easily be weaponized by political activists seeking to use the State Election Board to punish political opponents or prevent the lawful certification of election results, harming the integrity of Georgia’s elections,” Raffensperger attorney Charlene McGowan wrote in a letter to Burns, R-Sylvania.
Burns disputed the contention that his bill, which is set for a Friday vote in the Senate, is unconstitutional or intended to interfere in elections.
In his letter to Carr, Burns asked that he review a 2005 opinion cited by McGowan and “clarify the constitutionality” of the measure.
Raffensperger has been a target of some Republicans since his handling of the 2020 presidential election, in which he defended the integrity of the results against then-President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was rigged.
The State Election Board recently declined to investigate Raffensperger for his handling of the 2020 election. But it voted unanimously to ask the General Assembly to clarify whether it had the authority to do so.
SB 358 would authorize the board to investigate the secretary of state’s office. It also would require Raffensperger to cooperate with such investigations.
Raffensperger deputy Jordan Fuchs said that voters elected her boss to oversee elections -- not a “group of bureaucratic political appointees with political instructions to guaranteed a certain result.”
She added: “Brad has always trusted the wisdom of Georgia’s voters. We would encourage the General Assembly to do the same as well. Anything less is shortsighted and counterproductive.”