The man who oversees Georgia’s voting system, Gabriel Sterling, negotiated a $200,000 per year contract for himself last year, quit his state government job and has worked as an independent contractor ever since.
Under the arrangement, Sterling’s pay increased from his $114,000 government salary since November 2019, when he took on the role of project manager for the purchase and rollout of the state’s new voting equipment. State election officials say as a contractor, the government didn’t have to pay benefits, such as health insurance.
Though he’s a contractor, Sterling has become the face of Georgia elections, leading press conferences debunking election conspiracy theories, criticizing mistakes by county election officials and calling out President Donald Trump for inciting threats against election workers, proclaiming “this has to stop.”
Sterling, a lifelong Republican, even drew praise from Democrats for his comments, and he received flowers and handwritten notes from voters across the country.
But his independent status prompted questions from state legislators and critics who have asked why oversight of the state’s voting machines is being managed outside Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s payroll.