Georgia Republicans say it’s merely an attempt to improve a chronically mismanaged elections administration.
But a newly-formed election review panel in Atlanta’s Fulton County is nevertheless sparking outrage — and paranoia — from Democrats who believe it’s the GOP’s first step toward commandeering the levers of election administration in the counties that powered Democratic gains last year.
The belief is not entirely unfounded. Under Georgia’s restrictive new voting law, if an election review panel finds evidence of unresolved errors or a breach of election law in a county’s election oversight since 2018, the state can disband the local board and replace it with a state-appointed superintendent. That figure would assume key decisions like voting locations, precinct staffing and vote certification.
In the GOP’s action in Fulton County, Democrats see the makings of a grand design to take control of local election offices in the metro Atlanta region, which would give Republicans the power to challenge election results, hold up certification and announce investigations in the counties that produce the most Democratic votes. In other words, it would enable them to execute the pieces of the Trump playbook that failed in 2020.
While the law only allows election boards in four counties at a time to be disbanded, that would be more than enough to swing a statewide election if those counties happened to be Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb — the state’s four most populous counties — where the bulk of Georgia’s Democratic votes are concentrated.