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Atlanta Civic Circle Democracy

Raffensperger on Trump, election reform and his legacy

By Tammy Joyner for Atlanta Civic Circle

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger isn’t one to call attention to himself. But the last two years have thrust Raffensperger and his family under the white-hot glare of national scrutiny and contempt from members of his own Republican party.

The millionaire, civil engineer-turned-politician garnered unaccustomed attention after he refused to acquiesce to former President Donald Trump’s demand to alter the 2020 presidential election results, drawing the ire of Trump and his followers. They attacked his work, his reputation, and even his family, who endured death threats along with Raffensperger. But the self-described “principled conservative” insists the unrelenting vilification from some members of his party and the public hasn’t changed or hardened him.

Raffensperger, 66, who is seeking a second term as secretary of state in a crowded race, turned to the Bible to explain his outlook on life now.

“I’m at a point in my life where the Lord’s changed me. He’s healed my heart,” Raffensperger said Feb. 10 during a 90-minute discussion with Atlanta journalists Nicole Carr of ProPublica and Mark Niesse of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I understand that sometimes, people are clamoring for a king. And it never worked out too well for Israel. In Judges 7:7, Gideon only had 300 men. So in my race, I’m looking for 300 people to come alongside me in a big way. I think there’s a big groundswell of other conservatives looking for a good, honest, decent human being that’ll do their job” he said.

Raffensperger has also written a book, Integrity Counts, published last November, in an effort to make sense of his two-year ordeal and the changing political landscape that is America now.

The wide-ranging virtual conversation, part of the Atlanta Press Club’s 2022 Newsmaker Series, covered:  the controversial election reform law Georgia Election Integrity Act (SB 202) that passed last year, the upcoming midterm elections, and the ongoing fixation for some members of his party on the former president.

Here are some of the highlights. Raffensperger’s comments have been edited for clarity and brevity. :

How will the new elections law affect midterm voting? 

Under SB 202, we now will have photo ID. That’s going to improve security and voter confidence, because so many allegations were made about the signature match [on absentee ballots].

We’re also holding counties accountable. During the November [municipal] elections, the average wait time was two minutes [on] election day. The longest I saw on the leader board was about 15 minutes. That’s great progress. If a county can’t seem to run an election, we now have accountability. There’s a review panel looking at Fulton County right now. … If they don’t improve, their board can be replaced and then have a new election director put in place. So accountability is a good thing.

Read the entire recap on Atlanta Civic Circle


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