Jon Greenbaum, the lead attorney for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, who is not partisan, said Republicans were engaged in a “total effort to change voting rules in many ways that would allow them a greater opportunity to challenge voter eligibility, “and that the party” would add micromanagement of state legislatures to the process of conducting an election. “
State Representative Barry Fleming, a Republican who has been a major sponsor of the bills in Georgia, did not respond to requests for comment. At a hearing on the bill this month, he defended the provisions, saying: “We as legislators decide how we will actually be elected, because we decide our own electoral boards and those of the counties from which we are elected.”
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican, has not spoken publicly about the changes in the administration and oversight of the elections. When asked for comment, his office only offered that he was in favor of “strengthened voter identification protections.”
At the local level, at least nine Republican counties in Georgia have passed local legislation since November, dissolving their current electoral boards, often comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats, and replacing them with a new membership appointed entirely by the county commissioner, resulting in a single party-tables.
A new law in Iowa restricting access to voting also addressed county election officials. In addition to prohibiting them from proactively submitting absentee ballot requests, the bill introduced criminal charges for officials who do not follow the new voting rules.
The threat of further punishment appeared to be directed at three county election officials in the state, who last year decided to mail absentee ballot requests to all registered voters in their counties, drawing ire from Republicans. state.
“We can be fined heavily now, removed from office,” said one of those officials, Travis Weipert, the Johnson County auditor. “And instead of just saying, ‘Don’t do it again,’ they took us down.”