Georgian Secretary of State denounces ‘disinformation campaign’ of 2020 elections


WASHINGTON – Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who has borne the brunt of former President Donald Trump’s attacks on Georgia’s 2020 election results, told a virtual panel on Friday that he hoped that electoral disinformation would begin to dissipate.

“People weren’t questioning the (electoral) process before, but there was a huge campaign of disinformation that really destabilized many segments of American society,” Raffensperger said during the panel, referring to the conduct of his party in reaction to 2020. “I think the challenge we have as Republicans is that right now our party is really fractured.

Other panelists at the Fair Elections and Speech Center forum at the University of California, Irvine School of Law on ‘electoral subversion’ included Julia Azari, associate professor and deputy chair of the political science department at Marquette University, who moderated a panel on democracy and authoritarianism. .

But Raffensperger’s participation, in particular, drew heavy criticism from Democrats in his home state.

Georgia state lawmakers and advocacy groups argued in a letter to panel sponsors that Raffensperger helped pass Georgia’s new election shake up bill, SB 202, widely criticized for restricting elections. voting rights.

Raffensperger applauded the first subversion steps taken by the State Board of Elections that could result in a state takeover of the Fulton County Board of Elections, the first time a state has taken any pro-subversion action “, according to the letter.

During the roundtable, Raffensperger said the integrity of the elections was more crucial than ever, highlighting how Trump urged him to disclose the results of the Georgia election, as well as the Jan.6 insurgency on the State Capitol. -United. A host of pro-Trump supporters stormed the building over the former president’s “big lie” that the presidential election was stolen from him.

Republican-controlled states in response to the 2020 election introduced and passed dozens of restrictive election laws, including Georgia’s.

Raffensperger added that he hopes far-right Republicans walk away from the November election and instead focus on winning future elections rather than harassing election officials.

“No one should ever be threatened, an election worker in particular,” he said. “A lot of them are volunteer positions. They are doing it out of civic responsibility, and it has to stop and we have to make sure that in 2022 we have safe and secure elections and that people are not threatened with their lives. “

But the letter from his detractors in Georgia says Raffensperger is a “participant” in the same electoral subversion in question.

One of the lawmakers who signed the letter, Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen, a Democrat, is running for secretary of state.

“Mr. Raffensperger has supported many provisions of Senate Bill 202, the anti-election legislation in Georgia that has led to electoral subversion,” the letter said. “The legislation supported by Raffensperger has become a model of electoral subversion for other state legislatures seeking the power to take over the administration of local elections. ”

In response to these objections, Raffensperger argued that he supported the bill.

He said many Democrats opposed the bill’s emphasis on voter identification laws, but added that many states are moving towards using the laws on voter identification. identifying voters when voting rather than using signatures to match votes.

This year alone, 18 states passed 30 restrictive voting laws that range from making postal voting more difficult to adopting voter identification requirements and purging voter lists, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

More than 400 bills in 49 states with restrictive voting provisions were introduced in legislative sessions in 2021.

Georgia is currently known as “Ground Zero” in the struggle for voting rights. Senate Democrats held a field hearing in the state, and the Biden administration has called on the Justice Department to sue the state over its election bill, arguing it violates the law on voting rights.

Voting rights advocates and grassroots organizations are pressuring Congressional Democrats to pass federal voting rights legislation to stop new laws that many researchers say would have a disproportionate impact on voters of color. The US Senate has yet to schedule a vote on advancing the latest version of voting rights legislation.

Isabel Longoria from Texas also participated in the virtual conference. She is Harris County’s first-ever election administrator, a non-partisan position.

Longoria said that since the 2020 presidential election, she has received hundreds of calls from people who believe the electoral office is not conducting a fair election. She added that she has helped facilitate several elections since then and has never received the same number of calls.

“If you really think the elections are conducted inappropriately, you would think they were conducted inappropriately for every election, but apparently that only matters for the November 2020 presidential election,” she declared.

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