Brad Raffensperger says the Georgia and U.S. Constitutions should be amended to prohibit voting by people who aren’t U.S. citizens. He oversaw a citizenship audit of the state’s voter rolls and has announced plans to further integrate citizenship checks into the voter registration process.
The Georgia secretary of state readily acknowledges that noncitizen voting is not a problem. State law already bars those who aren’t U.S. citizens from voting. And while his audit flagged more than 1,600 potential noncitizens who tried to register over the last 25 years, none was successful.
But Raffensperger, Georgia’s chief elections officer, is nonetheless making the issue a centerpiece of his effort to win over diehard conservatives ahead of what could be a difficult bid to clinch the GOP nomination later this month for another four year term in office. He is one of Donald Trump’s top primary targets this year after he refused to bend to pressure from the former president to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.
His insistence on honoring the results of a free and fair election in 2020 turned Raffensperger into an unlikely national figure at a moment when core democratic principles were being tested in the U.S. But in a recent interview, he reiterated his focus on noncitizen voting, noting that his office has referred the people flagged by the audit to law enforcement and election officials for further investigation.
“I want to make sure that we follow the law, that we follow the Constitution, and I want to make sure that only Americans can vote in our elections,” he said. “I think that’s really important.”
Others, however, say Raffensperger is motivated by political calculations.
“This is a pretty safe red meat thing that he can throw to the base that he’s hoping will satisfy them,” Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie said of Raffensperger’s focus on noncitizen voting. “He’s not doing this because there’s a problem that needs to be solved. He’s doing this because he wants to try burnish his conservative bonafides with the base of voters who are going to determine whether or not he’s going to keep his job.”
Contests for secretary of state typically attract little attention. But Trump’s election lies have dramatically intensified the focus on such races. During his waning days in office, Trump pressed Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory, a conversation that is now the subject of a grand jury probe in Atlanta.
The results in Georgia were certified after a trio of recounts, including one partially done by hand. They all affirmed Biden’s victory.
Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said the election was fair, and the former president’s allegations were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed.
Still, Trump has taken the unusual step of issuing endorsements in secretary of state campaigns across the U.S., including Georgia. He’s backed a Raffensperger rival, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who objected to Georgia’s electoral votes being counted for Biden.
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Source:: Headlines News4jax
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