Georgia Election Board Chairman Bill Duffey resigns

Duffey led the board as it dismissed fraud allegations in 2020 election
Bill Duffey, a former federal judge and U.S. attorney, whom Gov. Brian Kemp appointed in June 2022 to head the State Election Board, has resigned. His resignation will take effect Friday. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Bill Duffey, a former federal judge and U.S. attorney, whom Gov. Brian Kemp appointed in June 2022 to head the State Election Board, has resigned. His resignation will take effect Friday. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

State Election Board Chairman Bill Duffey has resigned from the panel responsible for investigating election fraud allegations and setting voting rules, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday.

Duffey wrote in his resignation letter to Kemp that it was time for new leadership in preparation for next year’s elections.

“Now that a new board structure is in place, it is important to name the next chair in sufficient time for that person to continue to prepare for the 2024 election cycle,” Duffey wrote to Kemp in a letter dated July 18. “... It has been an honor to work to preserve the integrity and fairness of the state’s election process.”

Kemp, who appointed Duffey in June 2022, thanked him for his public service following his career as a federal judge and U.S. attorney. Duffey’s resignation will take effect Friday.

Credit: Miguel Martinez for the AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez for the AJC

“William Duffey was tasked with overseeing the board’s vital operations to help ensure secure and fair access to the ballot box in our state,” Kemp said. “I appreciate his willingness to serve over the past year in that role as we went through another election cycle and wish him and Betsy well in the years ahead.”

Under Duffey’s leadership, the State Election Board handled many allegations of fraud during the 2020 presidential election. The board is made up of four Republicans, including Duffey, and one Democrat.

The board voted to dismiss claims of illegal ballot collection raised in the movie “2000 Mules,” sued the conservative group True the Vote for its unwillingness to disclose information to back up the film’s allegations, held public hearings on election security and rejected a state takeover of Fulton County’s elections board.

The board also found that Fulton County made numerous mistakes during an audit of the 2020 presidential election, and it cleared a political action committee of wrongdoing when it gave away $25 gift cards at events promoting Republican Herschel Walker’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Kemp announced Duffey’s resignation after a State Election Board meeting earlier this month where he faced criticism from conservatives who attacked his prayer — which recognized Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs in God — at the beginning of the meeting.

The state Senate had approved Duffey’s appointment to the board in March. The previous chairman, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, was removed as a voting member of the board by the state’s 2021 voting law.

“He stepped up to serve at a time when there was a lot of noise surrounding Georgia’s elections, and through his patience, diligence and experience weighing evidence, he confirmed that Georgia’s elections are safe, accurate and secure,” Raffensperger said.