- Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday called for a constitutional amendment to allow state legislators to choose the Secretary of State, which would take away the responsibility from voters.
- The proposal is seen as a response to lingering Republican dissatisfaction with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and President-elect Joe Biden’s statewide victory in Georgia.
- Voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment for the drastic change to be made.
- “In a clear power grab, Ralston and the Trump campaign want to give the General Assembly the power to select winners of elections and violate the will of the people,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in a statement.
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Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday called for a constitutional amendment to allow state legislators to choose the Secretary of State — thereby taking away the responsibility from voters — in response to continued Republican unrest over President-elect Joe Biden’s statewide victory over President Donald Trump in the November election.
Ralston, a Republican, said that legislators in the GOP-controlled Georgia General Assembly, which includes the state House of Representatives and Senate, would select the Secretary of State, who runs statewide elections, upon approval of the amendment.
However, voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment.
After Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, declined to participate in a state Senate hearing on the election, Ralston said that he was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the move, according to Atlanta’s NBC affiliate 11 Alive.
“As the state’s chief elections official, it is incumbent on the Secretary of State to be responsive to the People’s House and faithfully perform his or her duties in accordance with the laws passed by the General Assembly,” he said a press briefing.
Expressing his support for the legislature picking the secretary of state, he added: “I think it’s the only way to right this ship. I don’t do this lightly. I don’t do this disrespectfully to the incumbent who I have personal regard for, but I do it because we have a job to do as members of the House and members of the Senate.”
The legislature chooses the secretary of state in only three states — Maine, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.
Raffensperger has been the target of attacks from President Donald Trump and party members who have pushed debunked narratives of widespread fraud in the election, allegations that Raffensperger has consistently denied.
The secretary of state’s office forcefully replied to the intraparty legislative proposal.
“In a clear power grab, Ralston and the Trump campaign want to give the General Assembly the power to select winners of elections and violate the will of the people,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in a statement.
In an interview with Business Insider’s Grace Panetta, Raffensperger defended the integrity of Georgia’s results, calling it “the most secure election ever.”
“Every time these rumors come up, it’s like the rumor whack-a-mole, we go ahead and we address it, and we have a transparent process and we have press releases on a daily basis … but also there’s been a lot of misinformation and honestly, disinformation or outright lying,” he said of the rampant election misinformation pushed by Trump and many of his allies.
On December 7, the state recertified Biden’s win after a recount was completed last week.