Republicans try to put rampant voter challenger on Fulton election board

Jason Frazier is the GOP nominee for elections board in Georgia’s Democratic core

Credit: Screenshot

Credit: Screenshot

In a vast attempt to disqualify Georgia voters, Jason Frazier has challenged the registrations of nearly 10,000 people in the Democratic stronghold of Fulton County.

Now he’s the Republican Party’s nominee for a seat on the county’s election board, which has the power to cancel or suspend registrations of voters who face challenges from conservative activists like him.

Frazier is one of the most prolific users of Georgia’s 2021 voting law that allows anyone to contest an unlimited number of other voters’ qualifications, filing long lists of voter names and addresses that he believes are invalid.

Few of Frazier’s scattershot voter challenges have been proved, and eligible voters have had to defend their right to vote in hearings before the county election board.

Frazier’s nomination to the election board could receive a vote by the Fulton County Commission on Wednesday, potentially giving him a position of authority over voter challenges, certification of election results, polling place locations and voting hours.

“He’s not doing this out of goodwill for the citizens of the county. There’s something else underlying there, and I believe it goes back to the 2020 election,” said Wayne Golosov of Alpharetta, an Army Reserve retiree whom Frazier challenged because of an error in his street address number. “I don’t think Mr. Frazier is doing the right thing for the voters of Fulton County.”

Frazier, a Roswell resident, recently was a guest on the podcast of Cleta Mitchell, a former lawyer for Donald Trump who participated in the then-president’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger seeking to “find” enough votes to reverse the results of the 2020 election. Fulton prosecutors are considering this summer whether to charge Trump with crimes related to election interference.

Far-reaching challenges

Frazier has said his goal is to prevent potential election fraud by identifying voters who might not live where they’re registered, looking for address mismatches, nonresidential addresses and duplicate registrations. He uses public voter registration records, property tax documents and mailing address data, then files challenges for county election officials to research.

“I’m not trying to suppress anyone. I just want clean voter rolls,” Frazier told the election board at its March meeting. “I’m free labor, trying to make sure people can vote and their absentee ballot doesn’t get bounced.”

Frazier’s voter challenges cast a wide net, targeting any address he views as suspicious.

During a hearing in March, he challenged one of the Republican election board members he would replace, a police sergeant and a homebound cancer patient. In each of those cases, he found minor discrepancies in government records for their addresses — not evidence of illegal registrations.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Opponents called on the Fulton Commission to vote down Frazier’s nomination rather than empower him on the election board.

“Their job is to improve public confidence in elections, and that’s not what does,” said Kristin Nabers, state director for the voting rights organization All Voting Is Local. “All his work to boot people off the rolls implies there’s something shady about the rolls when there isn’t.”

Fulton County Republican Party Chairwoman Stephanie Endres, who nominated Frazier, didn’t return phone and email messages seeking comment. Frazier couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kathleen Ruth, the Republican election board member whom Frazier challenged, said he questioned her address because her street name lacked the word “northeast” in voter registration records.

“When we have these large, sweeping challenges, it puts a huge burden on the department because they have to determine whether or not there’s enough probable cause to investigate further,” Ruth said.

Eligible voters on defense

Overall, Frazier has challenged an estimated 9,500 Fulton County voters since last year, with 160 registrations removed by the county election board and about 6,400 registrations put in “challenged” or “pending” status until voters verify their addresses, according to approximate figures compiled by voting rights groups.

Lakendra Graham said Frazier challenged her registration after the city of Atlanta changed her street name from Confederate Court. Her voter registration still showed the old address, leading Frazier to question her eligibility.

“Why would he stick his arm out to get somebody’s rights taken away?” asked Graham, who spent three hours at an election board meeting with her children to defend her right to vote. “If he sees a flaw, he should report the flaw instead of trying to get somebody’s rights taken.”

Craig Young of Alpharetta faced a voter challenge because of a mistake in his voter registration that listed the word “drive” twice at the end of his and his neighbors’ street name.

Young said he believes Frazier is trying to disqualify as many voters as he can ahead of the 2024 election, knowing that Fulton is the largest base of Democratic voters in Georgia and backed Joe Biden with 73% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s really frustrating. These are not voters who need to be challenged; rather, they were clerical errors in the data,” Young said. “It definitely concerns me that (his nomination to the election board) is going to lead to more people having the right to vote taken away from them.”

The Fulton election board is made up of two Republican and two Democratic nominees, subject to the approval of the County Commission.

Credit: Ben Hendren

Credit: Ben Hendren

Along with Frazier, the Fulton Republican Party nominated Michael Heekin, a retired attorney from Sandy Springs who has served as a poll worker, poll watcher and vote review panelist. The Fulton County Democratic Party plans to renominate its two board members for another two-year term.

The County Commission last month approved a new board chairwoman, Patrise Perkins-Hooker, following an outcry by Democrats over the nomination of Republican Lee Morris to lead the board in the state’s most-populated county.