ATLANTA, Ga – Elected officials are taking aim and Fulton County and its elections director Richard Barron, following new details regarding the 2020 election.
Speaker of the House David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge) released the letter he sent to Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron. In the letter, Ralston requests Barron ask the GBI to investigate November 2020 election. He cited the mounting allegations against Fulton County as his reasoning behind the need for an investigation.
“Recently, media reports have surfaced which call into question the way in which Fulton County conducted, counted and audited the November 2020 Presidential Election. These reports have been accompanied by video and other evidence which is part of on-going litigation and requires thorough examination and explanation. Given the seriousness of this situation and the possible repercussions for our state and nation, it is time we have an independent investigation – once and for all – of the way in which Fulton County conducted, counted and audited the November 2020 Presidential Election,” Ralston wrote.
Raffensperger calls for Barron’s firing
Throughout the week, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-Ga) has issued several tweets, and last month, he held a press conference in front of headlines concerning Fulton’s lengthy history of election problems.
Most recently, a report of the double-counting of 200 absentee ballots came to light after the new voting law made it public.
“Fulton County’s continued failures have gone on long enough with no accountability. Rick Barron and Ralph Jones, Fulton’s registration chief, must be fired and removed from Fulton’s elections leadership immediately. Fulton’s voters and the people of Georgia deserve better,” one of Raffensperger’s tweets read.
Earlier this year, the Fulton County Elections Board voted to fire Barron, but the commissioners rejected the termination.
Another tweet stated, “Long before November, I had been working to get Fulton to clean up their decades of election mismanagement. Restoring confidence in our elections should be a bipartisan concern. Fulton County’s poor elections management is making that impossible.”
Raffensperger’s also gone on record urging Republicans to take “the lead on election regulation reform” and that the SOS assigned monitor found “significant management issues.”
Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts (D – Fulton) described Raffensperger’s call to fire Barron and Jones as a “sell out to conspiracy theorists.”
“His ultimate goal is based on the provisions of Senate Bill 202, he would like to take over the elections in Fulton County, that is not going to happen, period,” Pitts told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Under the Election Integrity Act (SB 202), the Secretary of State’s Office does have the authority to take over a county’s elections process if numerous instances of problems are documented. The Department of Justice is currently suing Georgia over the bill on the grounds that it violates voter’s civil rights.
Read the entirety of Ralston’s call for an election investigation below:
ELLIJAY, Ga – November 2020 election integrity lawsuit plaintiff Garland Favorito labeled the obstacles facing the ballot audit a “battle between establishment and grassroots” Republicans.
On Friday, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero granted the motion to unseal ballots in Fulton County.
The ballots will be scanned to produce 600 dpi dots per inch) high-resolution images for a forensic audit. However, only the court and Fulton County employees will be allowed to handle the ballots.
Petitioners and Respondents council along with the court will convene on Friday at the ballot’s location to discuss further protocols.
Following the order, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a statement:
“From day one I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues. Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”
Favorito remarked the statement was “carefully crafted as not to lie” when read the statement. He asked if Raffensperger was in favor of election transparency then why did his office file an amicus brief against their lawsuit through the Attorney General.
He added that the Secretary of State has issued more “roadblocks” than Fulton County itself. He stated that Raffensperger is “adamantly opposed to election transparency in the state.”
The Secretary of State’s Office has conducted three recounts of the November Election, including a hand recount.
All three came back confirming the election results. During the almost daily press briefings following the November election, Gabriel Sterling, Secretary of State Election Official, tried to quell claims of widespread voter fraud and asked individual voters to report and suspected issues to their office.
Earlier in the year, the state board of election aced on more than 300 cases of voter fraud, several were referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.
Raffensperger’s also voiced support of Georgia voter reform efforts, claiming it would not result in voter suppression. He added on Twitter that he’s always encouraged voters to use legal channels when pursuing election disputes in their counties.
ALPHARETTA, Ga – Former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle hosted his Secretary of State campaign kick-off on Monday, March 22 at Alpharetta City Park and called out Raffensperger’s elections procedures.
Trump supporter State Senator Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta) introduced the candidate. Beach spoke about until after the November election his cell phone seldomly rang and everyone who called asked about election reform.
“The reason I’m supporting David is I know he’s a man of character, integrity, and he’s smart and that matters. He would not have entered into an agreement that really made two sets of rules for voting in person and absentee ballots,” Beach said.
He wants Georgia to take the path of Florida concerning reform and have the 2022 results in by the 11 p.m. news. Belle Isle promised Beach that he would make that happen.
Belle Isle spoke about how it’s tough to be a conservative, and many feel attacked either by the media, corporate America, or big tech.
“Most people raise their families and most people live applying conservative values and conservative principles whether they know it or not,” the candidate remarked. “The entire purpose of the Republican Party is to bring human flourishing within the reach of every American, within the reach of every Georgian. We do this by opening the widest door possible.”
He directly leveled the blame for the November elections at Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). Speaking to election integrity, he stated that every vote must be validated.
“The disaster that was the 2020 election was not something that happened to Brad Raffensperger. It was something that happened through Brad Raffensperger,” Belle Isle commented. He then listed the actions Raffensperger took leading up to the 2020 primary and general elections.
The list included signing the compromise settlement agreement with Fair Fight Georgia and Stacy Abrams, the mass mailing absentee ballot applications before the primary, drop boxes, and allowing signature verification only for absentee ballots.
Belle Isle added that he’s not “here to say one way or another” if the election was stolen, but what happened in Georgia was worse than that – “an election that can neither be proved fraudulent or fair.” The Secretary of State’s Office did conduct three recounts that all resulted in the same outcome.
Later, the former mayor stated he was in favor of removing no excuse absentee ballots, but understands it’s an uphill battle.
According to Belle Isle, the settlement agreement “made it difficult for counties to efficiently reject an invalid mail-in ballot” and it took three people to reject a mail-in ballot. The rejection rate dropped from three percent to practically zero percent.
Citing the Senate runoff, he commented how thousands stayed home because they lost confidence in the system. Typically, turnout does drop if a Presidential election isn’t on the ballot.
Belle Isle believes he’s the best man for the job with a focus on restoring voter integrity as the backbone of his campaign.
“The Secretary of State needs to be hands-on. The Secretary of State needs to be in that office on a daily basis. I mean looking at the election process from top to bottom. A lot of what’s been happening here is essentially someone governing from afar, leading from afar, and handing it off to his lieutenants,” Belle Isle stated about Raffensperger’s handling of the Secretary of State’s Office.
Congressman Jody Hice also entered the Secretary of State race on Monday.
ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston announced intentions to change the way Georgia selects a Secretary of State. He favors placing the power with the legislature.
Ralston will ask the Governmental Affairs Committee to craft a constitutional amendment that changes the Secretary of State to an appointed position. The bill would need to be passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor. Currently, Georgia citizens elect the Secretary of State.
“I think it’s time in Georgia that we look an alternative way of electing a Secretary of State. There’s more than one option as an alternative. Frankly, I like the option of having the General Assembly elect that individual for a set term,” Ralston commented.
The Secretaries of State of Tennessee, Maine, and New Hampshire are all elected by their respective state legislatures.
“I feel like it’s the only way to right this ship. I don’t do this lightly or disrespectfully to the incumbent who I have high personal regard for. I do this because we have a job to do as members of the house and members of the senate,” Ralston finished.
The move comes after several weeks of questions, concerns, and Republican in-fighting over the November 3 elections. One concern that several elected Republicans in Georgia take issue with is the consent decree signed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp without informing the General Assembly until afterward.
If the bill becomes law, a Secretary of State couldn’t enter into a consent decree without first consulting the legislature.
It would also remove power from the hands of the voter and place it with the General Assembly. Ralston argued that the people are feeling “excluded” by the Secretary of State’s Office.
If the bill passed the House and Senate, then it would land on the governor’s desk. Kemp has supported Raffensperger through much of the post-election disputes, aside from calling for future reforms. At this point, it’s unlikely he would sign the bill.
This isn’t the first time Ralston and Raffensberger didn’t see eye-to-eye. Before the June primary, Ralston expressed disapproval in the Secretary of State’s plan to send all Georgians an absentee ballot application. Some reports suggest that these applications carried over through the General Election.
The House’s Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing concerning election irregularities today. They invited the Secretary of State Raffensperger and team. Last night, the Secretary of State’s Office informed the committee that they declined to attend the hearing. The committee wanted to speak with the Secretary of State about potential improvements that could be made to the system. Ralston ensured that the Secretary of State knew it would be a “fact-finding” and “non-adversarial” meeting.
“I’m completely shocked. I’m disappointed. I don’t ever remember in my time serving in this Assembly, a Constitutional Officer refusing to come before a House or a Senate Committee to offer up information that might be helpful to the people’s representatives,” Ralston remarked. “The people of Georgia are wanting answers out of their representatives.”
He believed Georgia’s representatives are entitled to a question-and-answer session with the Secretary of State’s Office.
The Secretary of State’s Office did hold a 3 p.m. press conference to debunk more voter fraud claims.
“Today we have yet another example of a Constitutional Officer who has chosen to be on his own and disregard input from the people who he looks to for his budget and to consider legislative changes to his office,” Ralston added.
Video footage courtesy of 11Alive.