While Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger did make the rounds this week to promote Georgia’s new election reform law, there was one part of the law that he objected to.
Specifically, it’s the part that strips him of his chairmanship on the State Elections Board and gives that job to someone who would be appointed by the Georgia General Assembly.
“I report to the voters, and so if the voters don’t like what I do, then I pay for that at the polls,” Raffensperger said. “Now, you’re going to have an unelected board that are unaccountable to the voters, and so if something goes wrong, then who do you really hold accountable?
“And, so for me, it’s not a very good accountability measure. I’ve never supported unelected boards, commissions or authorities having very strong powerful influences.”
The decision to oust Raffensperger from the chairmanship — the person serving secretary of state would remain on the board, but in a non-voting ex-officio capacity — comes as the State Elections Board is gaining new power to potentially have oversight of local elections.
Raffensperger said the board, under a provision of Senate Bill 202, would decide whether a local elections board, or superintendent, should be ousted for not doing a good enough job handling elections. He said someone who is an elected official should have a say in that matter.
“A ruling that an election director can take over a board is a big decision, and I think that really should reside — that the ultimate decision maker should be someone that holds elected office,” the secretary of state said. “In Florida, it’s actually the governor that makes that decision. I think that would be an appropriate place, or the secretary of state.”