Georgia voting chief Brad Raffensperger talks elections at Augusta Kiwanis

·3 min read

With the 2022 election behind him, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is moving on to new policy goals when it comes to voting — and still defending the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

Recently, Raffensperger sent a letter to Congress asking for federal action on several changes to voting, including allowing states to update voter rolls within 90 days of an election, which is currently illegal. That, he told members of the Kiwanis Club of Augusta on Monday, was something they should be calling their congressional representatives about.

"Why does that matter?" Raffensperger asked his Augusta audience. "We have over 7.5 million people that are registered to vote in Georgia. And people have done studies. They say 11% of all Americans move every year. ... That's 200,000 people that could potentially move in that 90-day window."

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In years where a primary runs into a general election and on into a runoff , he said, it makes it particularly hard to update rolls. Raffensperger is also pushing for a constitutional amendment to prevent non-citizens from voting in local elections, something he says local governments in Georgia have considered but not yet implemented.

At the state level, Raffensperger is still looking to eliminate the runoff — the question is not whether Georgia should move away from them, he said, but what the replacement should be.

"If county election directors have a vote, they would all get rid of runoffs," he said.

The state Legislature, however, did not take up the issue this session despite a majority of Georgians supporting the move.

"They're busy," he said of lawmakers. "And I think really, sometimes you need time coming into a session, and everyone was in an election year last year, and so I think that's really a lot of what it was. You really want to make sure it's thoughtful. It's measure twice, cut once, make sure you get it right."

Just before Raffensperger began his speech, a man walked in silently with a poster board sign accusing the Secretary of State of cheating former President Donald Trump out of the election in Georgia before being quickly ushered out again by attendees.

"I think that gentleman that came in with a placard, I think you guys sent him in here to kind of tee it up," Raffensperger said as he began his speech.

Then he ran through a number of allegations of voter fraud that had been made about the Georgia presidential race in 2020, from improper ballot counting in Fulton County (numerous law enforcement agencies found no issues) to dead people voting (Raffensperger's office found just four) to ballot harvesting (outlawed in Georgia). He also defended SB202, the controversial voting bill that opponents have said would suppress Georgia voters.

Raffensperger ended, though, not in the weeds of election policy but with a call for values of integrity and civil discourse, and praise for his Kiwanis audience.

"You are the people that making Augusta better," he said. "And when you make Augusta better, you make Georgia better."

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Brad Raffensperger talks voter rolls, runoffs in Augusta