Other members of the coalition include the New Georgia Project Action Fund, Stand Up America and several labor unions.
The measure, which emerged last week ahead of tomorrow’s Crossover Day deadline, would authorize public paper ballot inspections and GBI fraud investigations. It cleared a panel last week, setting the stage for a vote soon.
As our AJC colleague Mark Niesse wrote, the proposal is the latest effort by the Republican majority in the General Assembly to rework election procedures in response to complaints from the party’s voters about Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020.
Here’s more from Niesse’s report:
Under the legislation, original paper ballots would become public records available for members of the public to request and review. Under current law, ballots can only be unsealed by a judge's order, though digital ballot images are already available.
The GBI would gain jurisdiction to investigate election cases and subpoena records, supplementing investigators in the secretary of state's office.
The bill also would restrict nonprofit funding for elections offices, require chain-of-custody paperwork when election officials handle ballots and make it a felony to threaten violence against poll workers and election officials.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Separately, we obtained a poll by American Viewpoint of 600 likely GOP primary voters that was commissioned by Secure Democracy USA, a nonpartisan group that aims to improve voter access.
The poll found that only 13% of GOP voters say voting and elections is a top issue, and that an overwhelming majority of respondents (71%) support the rewrite that was adopted last year.
In all, roughly two-thirds of GOP primary voters told the pollsters they have more confidence that elections in Georgia will be conducted “fairly and accurately” and the same proportion agree that politicians should “focus on other pressing issues.”
Read the entire poll, which also pegs Gov. Brian Kemp with a 51-35 lead over former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.
UNDER THE GOLD DOME:
- 8:00 a.m.: Committee work begins;
- The state House and Senate are adjourned for a full committee work day, the last before Tuesday’s Crossover Day deadline.
We’re keeping an eye on the House floor Tuesday when, among the many measures looking to get through the House and Senate before Crossover Day ends, we expect a House vote on a bill to expand the state’s stalled medical marijuana program.
With qualifying week having come and gone, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams kicks off her first campaign swing this week.
She’ll hit multiple stops across the state on her “One Georgia” tour. Look for Abrams in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Cuthbert, Midway, Thomasville and Warner Robins.
Vernon Jones seems to be having a hard time getting to know the boundaries of the congressional district he’s seeking.
The former Dekalb County Democrat, who weeks ago abandoned the race for governor to run for a mostly rural district east of Atlanta, tweeted that he’s looking forward to welcoming Donald Trump to Georgia’s 10th District for the March 26 rally.
Except the event is to be held at the Atlanta Dragway in Banks County – in the 9th District. He also tweeted that he was in downtown Madison “in Monroe County.” Madison is the seat of Morgan County. Monroe County is about 50 miles away.
We heard from as many Republicans as Democrats about outgoing state Rep. Josh McLaurin’s speech on the House floor late Friday against the permit-less carry legislation that’s expected to soon reach Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.
The Sandy Springs Democrat invoked former Republican state Rep. Matt Gurtler repeatedly as he criticized “liberty robot” legislation meant to energize the GOP base. Gurtler was a reliable “no” vote on the House floor and the original sponsor of the bill in the House.
McLaurin also pointed out something that the Democrats speaking out against the bill had in common.
“Every Democrat who spoke from the well tonight flipped one of your seats on the message that the public doesn’t want stuff like this,” McLaurin told Republicans. “Check the list.”
It’s a speech worth watching.
George Chidi wrote on Twitter last night state Sen. Carden Summers has told him he plans to pause SB 535, the bill that would curb local spending on homelessness and add criminal penalties to sleeping in the street, and pursue a study committee instead.
Chidi, a former AJC reporter and Substack author, went on to describe his conversation with Summers, whom Chidi said was approached by the Texas-based Cicero Institute, to introduce the bill. Summers is a Republican from Cordele.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her co-plaintiffs have already filed a notice of appeal now that a judge has thrown out their lawsuit challenging the fines they received for violating the House’s mask rules.
Greene, along with Kentucky’s U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie and South Carolina’s Ralph Norman, filed their original court challenge in July 2021. They hoped at the time to recoup penalties they faced for refusing to abide by a mask mandate implemented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote in his ruling that the case had no merit, rejecting each of the arguments the trio’s lawyers made on why the fines should be reversed.
The case now heads to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. The mask mandate in the House has now been dropped as COVID cases in the D.C. region have fallen.
POSTED: In February, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock introduced a stand-alone bill to cap insulin costs for patients with insurance at $35 a month.
Tia Mitchell has a story up today talking to Georgians who know first-hand the effects of sky-rocketing prices and support Warnock’s bill.
The insulin-cap language was initially contained in the wide-ranging Build Back Better social spending and climate change bill that stalled due to opposition from Republicans and two moderate Democratic senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema.
The proposal has the support of Democratic leaders in Congress, as well as the White House, although conversations continue about how to get it passed into law.
A jury last week ordered Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst and City Manager Christian Sigman to pay $200,000 in punitive damages related to a lawsuit filed by a developer whose mixed-use project was rejected.
Attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants and city officials described the verdict, which totals $6 million, as “shocking,” the AJC’s Zachary Hansen reports. Read more on the unprecedented ruling here.
A new ad campaign promoting the proposed City of Lost Mountain includes a familiar GOP attack line often used on Democrats, this one hitting Cobb Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid’s “radical agenda.”
The Marietta Daily Journal reports on the origins of the ad, which reads, “It’s time to fight back against any industrial developments in West Cobb! Sign the petition for the City of Lost Mountain and show your support for local zoning control to stop Lisa Cupid’s radical agenda for West Cobb.”
The full item includes context for that accusation, along with Cupid’s response.
Georgia politicos send out a flood of memories and condolences upon the news Friday night of the passing of Sam Massell, the former mayor of Atlanta and longtime fixture of Atlanta and Georgia public affairs.
Massell was the only Jewish mayor of Atlanta and later led the Buckhead Coalition.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens had included Massell on his transition team. He said in a statement that Massell, “Understood the importance of collaboration and inclusion. I call it drawing circles, but Sam always said that we can get more done through a conference call than through confrontation.”
House Speaker David Ralston called Massell, “A good and decent man whose legacy will live on for generations.”
All of Atlanta’s former mayors also released statements. We at the Jolt will remember Massell fondly for his humor, return phone calls, interest in the minutiae of government, and recent appreciation for the new joys of Instacart.
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