Raffensperger backs new voter law despite it stripping his office of some of its power

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talked one-on-one with Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray about the state’s controversial new election law.

Raffensperger strongly supports the legislation, even though it strips his office of some of its powers.

“You’ve spent months arguing that this was a fair and well-run election. Why would you need legislation then after that election?” Gray asked Raffensperger.

“I’ve been clear for two years, I said signature match was very poor way of verifying who the voter was. It’s very subjective, and as an engineer, I love objectivity,” Raffensperger responded.

The new law gives the state election board added power to take over any county election office for underperforming.

“There is a fear that this authority could be used to somehow reverse results the election board didn’t like?” Gray asked.

“I don’t think it would be that at all. It’s really about the operations of an election,” Raffensperger said.

It is no secret that lawmakers have one county in mind.

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“At the end of the day, we’ve been talking about Fulton County specifically since 1993,” Raffensperger said.

“Leave us alone, period,” said Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts.

Pitts says the law unfairly targets voters in the state’s largest county.

“Should they decide at the state level, ‘well we don’t like what Fulton County’s doing,’ they can swoop in and take over. Not going to happen,” Pitts said.

The bill also gives the general assembly more say over the newly more powerful state election board.

It strips the chairmanship from the secretary of state and instead lawmakers will choose the chair.

Raffensperger says he is willing to debate the merits of the law with anyone, particularly its most visible critic, Stacey Abrams.

“I’d love to have that debate with Stacey Abrams,” Raffensperger said.

And he made clear, he wants an actual, physical debate.

“I think we need a stand-up debate. One-on-one. Anywhere she wants, anytime, anyplace,” Raffensperger said.

We reached out to Stacey Abrams. A spokesperson wrote: “Mr. Raffensperger has already humiliated himself enough. Besides, which Raffensperger would show up?”