ATLANTA, Ga – Elected officials are taking aim and Fulton County and its elections director Richard Barron, following new details regarding the 2020 election.
Today, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge) released the letter he sent to Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron. In the letter, Ralston requests Barron ask the GBI to investigate November 2020 election. He cited the mounting allegations against Fulton County as his reasoning behind the need for an investigation.
“Recently, media reports have surfaced which call into question the way in which Fulton County conducted, counted and audited the November 2020 Presidential Election. These reports have been accompanied by video and other evidence which is part of on-going litigation and requires thorough examination and explanation. Given the seriousness of this situation and the possible repercussions for our state and nation, it is time we have an independent investigation – once and for all – of the way in which Fulton County conducted, counted and audited the November 2020 Presidential Election,” Ralston wrote.
Raffensperger calls for Barron’s firing
Throughout the week, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-Ga) has issued several tweets, and last month, he held a press conference in front of headlines concerning Fulton’s lengthy history of election problems.
Most recently, a report of the double-counting of 200 absentee ballots came to light after the new voting law made it public.
“Fulton County’s continued failures have gone on long enough with no accountability. Rick Barron and Ralph Jones, Fulton’s registration chief, must be fired and removed from Fulton’s elections leadership immediately. Fulton’s voters and the people of Georgia deserve better,” one of Raffensperger’s tweets read.
Earlier this year, the Fulton County Elections Board voted to fire Barron, but the commissioners rejected the termination.
Another tweet stated, “Long before November, I had been working to get Fulton to clean up their decades of election mismanagement. Restoring confidence in our elections should be a bipartisan concern. Fulton County’s poor elections management is making that impossible.”
Raffensperger’s also gone on record urging Republicans to take “the lead on election regulation reform” and that the SOS assigned monitor found “significant management issues.”
Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts (D – Fulton) described Raffensperger’s call to fire Barron and Jones as a “sell out to conspiracy theorists.”
“His ultimate goal is based on the provisions of Senate Bill 202, he would like to take over the elections in Fulton County, that is not going to happen, period,” Pitts told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Under the Election Integrity Act (SB 202), the Secretary of State’s Office does have the authority to take over a county’s elections process if numerous instances of problems are documented. The Department of Justice is currently suing Georgia over the bill on the grounds that it violates voter’s civil rights.
Read the entirety of Ralston’s call for an election investigation below:
ATLANTA, Ga. – On February 10, Governor Brian Kemp announced plans to pay nearly 60,000 state employees a one-time bonus of $1,000.
Speaker David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge), flanked by Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan (R) and other lawmakers, said that the proposal was actually an extension to Kemp’s plan outlined in the State of the State speech last month.
“We wanted to extend that $1,000 bonus beyond our teachers to many of our frontline state employees who have also served our citizens through the worst days of this pandemic,” said Ralston.
Kemp reiterated that this bonus couldn’t come at a better time for many families that struggled through the pandemic.
“Our state employees have worked incredibly hard despite a global pandemic. They have been going above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential services to our most vulnerable, keeping our businesses open and delivering financial assistance to those who quite honestly many days were losing hope,” said Kemp. “Like so many hardworking Georgians, they juggled jobs and school and the new normal for their kids and their families like we all have and to those of [you] here today we just simply cannot thank you enough.”
Much of the flexibility that allows Georgia to have an opportunity to propose legislation like this comes from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress and a 6.1% increase in state revenue compared to this time last year.
In total, $59 million will be set aside to cover the bonuses.
Not all state employees will be eligible. Those making over $80,000 a year or who work for the Board of Regents may not see these bonuses.
State law still requires that both the House and Senate have to agree on the proposed amendment before it moves to the Governor’s desk.
ATLANTA – House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and House Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) announced today that the committee will hold a hearing next week on voting processes and elections in Georgia.
“Ahead of the critical Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff, it is imperative that we ensure free and fair elections that inspire confidence and certainty in the result,” said Speaker Ralston. “For that reason, I’m asking Chairman Blackmon and his committee to act swiftly and aggressively and follow the facts wherever they may lead so as to reassure Georgia voters their vote will count in January. Over the last year, I have been outspoken regarding my concerns with election processes like jungle primaries and mail-in voting, and I will continue to advocate for transparent and secure elections.”
The House Governmental Affairs Committee will convene on Thursday, Dec. 10 to continue the work they began earlier this year when Speaker Ralston asked them to look into irregularities with the June 2020 primary election. The House of Representatives spent much of the 2020 legislative session discussing election laws, including serious concerns about the legality of the Secretary of State’s decision to send out unsolicited mail-in ballot applications without legislative input or oversight.
The focus of the committee’s work next week will be to ensure the security and efficiency of the January 2021 U.S. Senate runoff and other future elections.
“We appreciate Speaker Ralston’s support of this effort, and take seriously the trust placed in us to conduct this inquiry in a thorough and expeditious fashion,” said Chairman Blackmon. “Our committee will seek any credible evidence of fraud or wrong-doing and determine what, if any, legislative action may be necessary to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box. When our Democratic colleagues had concerns earlier this year, Speaker Ralston asked our committee to investigate, and he has done so again now in light of current concerns. I know our members will welcome the opportunity to examine and debate this crucial topic.”
Further details about the hearing will be released next week. The House Governmental Affairs Committee report on the June 2020 primary election may be found here: http://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/CommitteeDocuments/2020/GovernmentalAffairs/Elections_Investigation_Report.pdf.
Blackmon’s committee has established an email for Georgians to report voting irregularities at [email protected].
This morning, BKP has House speaker David Ralston on the show to discuss the state budget.House Speaker Ralston discusses the revenue we lost just in April. He also discusses budget cuts, the rainy day fund, and tells BKP thathe hopes they won’t have to touch the rainy day fund again. House Speaker Ralston finishes by saying we live around the best people and that he is proud to be from the area.
Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020.
“To ensure the health and well-being of Georgians, I will extend the public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020. This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers, and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our healthcare facilities. We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing, and helping us flatten the curve. We are in this fight together,” said Governor Kemp. “I appreciate Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston continuing to work with us to ensure resources are available to proactively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thank them for their support of an extended emergency declaration. In these unprecedented times, we ask Georgians for their continued patience and prayers, especially for first responders, law enforcement, and the healthcare workers caring for the medically fragile. They are going above and beyond to keep us all safe, and we will never be able to repay them for their sacrifices.”
“We must continue our aggressive fight against COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Duncan. “By extending the public health state of emergency, we can ensure Georgians have access to every available state resource during this crisis. Together, Speaker Ralston and I are working closely with Governor Kemp to do all we can to make sure we are meeting the needs of every Georgian. The General Assembly will continue to remain vigilant and available to assist our citizens in any way possible.”
“The entirety of our state government is working to protect the health and safety of our citizens, and I appreciate the work of our state personnel and first responders during this challenging time,” said Speaker David Ralston. “While we have difficult days ahead, we continue to coordinate with both local and federal partners in responding to needs as they arise. As Georgians, we will persevere and emerge stronger on the other side.”