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New York Times

New Georgia Law and Risk of Election Overthrow

What if Georgia Secretary of State Brad Lafenceparger replied “OK, let’s do it” on a January phone call after President Donald Trump asked to “find” 11,000 votes? No one can be sure. What is clear is that this question has been overlooked in recent months. Public attention has largely shifted from Trump’s bid to overturn the election. Activists and politicians are particularly focused on limiting or expanding voting access by mail. Sign up for The New York Times’ The Morning newsletter However, trying to overturn election results without credible evidence of widespread fraud is an act of a different scale than narrowing access. Successful efforts to overturn elections pose significant and fundamental risks to democracy and endanger political violence and separatism. Beyond the voting itself, the new Georgia election law runs the risk of facilitating the destruction of elections. It creates a new path for partisan intervention in election administration. To do this, the State Election Commission, now newly managed by the Republican Legislature appointed, has a typical bipartisan county election commission with important authority over ballot counting and voter eligibility. It involves being able to appoint a single person to manage. The law also authorizes the state legislature to appoint two of the chairman of the state elections committee and its five voting members, and can appoint a majority of the legislature. It strips the Secretary of State’s chairman and vote. Even without this law, there is a risk of overthrowing the election. Election managers and managers across the country have important powers, including proof of election results that can be abused to pursue the interests of the party. And it’s risky that HR 1, a reform bill promoted by the Democratic Party of Parliament, does relatively little to deal with. New Georgia law does not essentially make it easy to “find” 11,000 votes. Almost all the powers that the Legislature could use already existed — they were only given to other people or groups. Regardless of the new law, they may have been abused before and may be abused in the future. The law also excludes many types of people who are likely to abuse their powers, including politician candidates, campaign contributors, and party organizers two years before their appointment. There are qualification requirements for the chair. This does not guarantee the exclusion of the ferocious faction that leads the board, but the Secretary of State did not have such a check. (Republican Lafence Purger was formerly a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.) The law is exactly that person who denied Trump’s arraignment and won 11,000 votes just three months ago. Has power from Purger. State legislators demoted La Fence Purger for reasons: many were probably sympathetic to Trump’s allegations. And if Congress had a problem with how Lafence Purger handled the 2020 elections, I suspect it might have helped board members who actively supported Trump’s allegations. Is rational. Can the state legislature, county legislature, or anyone else use their executive branch to reverse election results? After the November elections, a majority of Republican lawmakers and state attorneys have signed an effort that would have nullified millions of votes and caused a constitutional crisis. Against this background, it seems naive to think that no one, whether in Georgia or elsewhere, would try to abuse such power. It’s worth returning to Trump’s infamous call. The lines often quoted about the “discovery” of votes sound like having La Fence Purger create a vote out of thin air, but Mr. Trump said he was thrown illegally in the form of thousands of votes. He said he had already found a vote. You have all the votes you need. You know, we have won the state. If you take, these are the minimum number, the number I gave you, the number they have been proven, your absentee ballot sent to a vacant address, your out-of-state voters, 4,925 .. If you add them up, it’s even more times, many times the number of 11,779. In addition to the 4,925 out-of-state voters mentioned, Trump unfoundedly claimed that there were hundreds of thousands of absentee votes with forged signatures. He claimed that there were 4,502 voters who voted but were not registered, based on incomplete agreement between the voter lists. 18,325 voters with vacant addresses. 904 voters who voted only on the PO Box address. And almost 5,000 votes from dead people. And, with virtually no evidence, he claimed serious misconduct in Fulton County, Atlanta. This includes 18,000 votes with someone who has done something malicious and a £ 3,000 shredded vote. County and state electoral authorities have various powers associated with such claims. They evaluate whether to accept or reject the vote and prove the result. In Georgia, they are hearing about eligibility issues. It would have been difficult to use these forces to assist Trump, not to mention surviving subsequent court challenges. But even if it’s not clear what happened, there are at least some levers that you might have tried to pull. One option is that the legislature may have seized Fulton County’s power based on the president’s allegations in the general election and other allegations from the Primary (the law has been at least twice in the last two years. Demanding evidence of the failure of the administration in the elections). The state legislature may refuse to prove the results or disqualify qualified voters on the basis of the president’s allegations. It can be difficult or even impossible to stop this right after the election. Before the state interferes with the county elections, the law requires a fairly elicited hearing process. Preliminary hearings cannot be held for at least 30 days after the first petition after the Georgia certification deadline. However, it is possible that a malicious board of directors could lay the groundwork early and a newly appointed supervisor before the election could have the ability to preemptively disqualify voters and ballots. The County Election Commission has heard a similar kind of challenge to voter eligibility in Georgia elections. State Republicans and Texas groups challenge the eligibility of hundreds of thousands of voters in December based on whether voters appear to match someone on the post office list in the National Address Change Register. I chanted it. Some small counties have actually attempted to invalidate voters based on this. This eligibility objection was dismissed by Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner of the US District Court, a sister of Stacey Abrams, who lost slightly to Brian Kemp in the 2018 Governor’s election in Georgia. However, while the eligibility objection was weakened by the final vote, it is not clear that there is ironclad protection against the eligibility objection, either as a matter of case law or as a matter of federal law. The narrower challenge may have had a better chance of surviving the court challenge. New Georgia law also facilitates this type of opposition by allowing one person to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters. Another option to block the election may be to suspend authentication. Georgia’s new law doesn’t do much to make it easier to block certification, as the Secretary of State, not the board or legislature, still certifies results state-wide. However, county election commissions, including Georgia, usually prove the outcome of the election, and the Secretary of State proves it state-wide. Trump sought to thwart efforts to certify the results and turned regular hearings into televised events. In the end, Trump’s efforts failed. Election authorities acted overwhelmingly to maintain the integrity of the elections, despite the immense political pressure to act. Nevertheless, the president was able to persuade a handful of officials to vote against the certification for suspicious reasons. If the Secretary of State had not proved the election results, whether in Georgia or elsewhere, it could have put the country in jeopardy and had uncertain consequences. Given how many Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to prove the number of elections, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if something similar could happen in the future. Election managers may have other options in Georgia or other states to undermine elections, other than disqualifying ballots and voters and revoking certification of results. All of this represents a clear threat to American democracy. Still, the risk of overthrowing elections is overshadowed, especially by the dispute over new restrictions on voting by mail. Progressivists have been concerned about this type of restriction for years, and the reform bill HR1 was partially written as a response. However, because the law was primarily enacted before the 2020 elections, the provisions do not directly address the new risk that election authorities may overturn election results. For example, there are no provisions requiring nonpartisan administration or federal election certification. HR 1 has provisions that indirectly limit the options available to actors who may try to overturn the election. One notable example is the provisions for voter cages that exclude matched list-based eligibility complaints, such as the December attempted address change notice challenge. It also includes provisions to ensure basic election management, such as requiring you not to wait in line for more than 30 minutes. However, the main focus of the proposed law is to improve democracy, such as by increasing voting access, and it is not entirely clear whether HR1 is a comprehensive effort to protect democracy. .. And even if it has the necessary protection, the risk of election overthrow has received little attention, so the relevant provisions may not be included in the streamlined bill. These provisions are not mentioned in most proposals for the narrower bill. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

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