Two Georgia state legislators who lost their chairmanships after they questioned the results of the last presidential election can’t say if their colleagues have enough willpower to fix the state’s alleged election integrity problems.
State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) talked to The Georgia Star News Monday. Both men said they’ve noticed that some state leaders stifled their efforts to have a special session to address voter irregularities late last year. But now top state officials have proposed reforms of their own.
But whether those proposed reforms go anywhere is anybody’s guess, both men said.
“Anything you do down there [at the state capital] is a challenge. Passing legislation is not easy, but we want to do what is right and bring back voter confidence,” Beach said.
“I was at a Cherokee County breakfast Saturday morning, and the constituents don’t have any confidence in the Dominion [voting] machines or the absentee ballot process. We have to look at all of that and make sure that we do things to make sure they feel good about going in voting and everybody is playing on the same set of rules and on the same playing field.”
Jones said whether state legislators vote to reform the system is “to be determined.”
“I won’t vote for something unless it addresses the core issues that I think need to be addressed. Just because you put a title on it as ‘election reform’ doesn’t mean it gets to the root of the problem,” Jones said.
Jones went on to say he’s unsure if recent events have vindicated him and other legislators who challenged Georgia’s presidential election results.
“For the last 12 weeks we have been ostracized as the ones questioning what happened during the election. We were considered renegades and told there was nothing wrong with the election process,” Jones said.
“It begs the question: If there was nothing wrong with what happened the last 12 weeks then what are we fixing? I saw plenty of violations that went on. At the end of the day I would like to see some meaningful legislation move forward that truly addresses the issues that were brought to light in the last two election cycles.”
Staff for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) did not return requests for comment Monday.
As reported Sunday, Republican officials at the Georgia State Capital want to require photo ID for absentee ballots in the state. Ralston has formed a Special Committee on Election Integrity. As The Star News reported this month, Jones no longer chairs the Committee on Insurance and Labor. Beach no longer oversees that body’s Transportation Committee.
As reported, Beach and Jones previously helped introduce a petition for a special session. The petition sought to determine Georgia’s electors. That petition also sought to investigate the voting irregularities and claims of voter fraud that occurred during the general election. The effort also aimed to nullify the consent decree that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger signed into law last March.
Through this Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release with the Democratic Party of Georgia, Raffensperger unilaterally altered the state’s statutory requirements to examine and authenticate signatures on absentee ballots.
As The Star News reported Monday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said different secretaries of states bypassed state legislators and changed state laws last year. In so doing, he said they violated the U.S. Constitution.
Raffensperger’s Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, responding to Paul’s remarks, said the following in an email Monday:
“This consent decree literally didn’t do anything or change the law with how we do signature match.”
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