Georgia election board to review Fulton County votes setting up possible takeover

Georgia’s Republican-controlled State Election Board took a step Wednesday toward a possible takeover of elections in Fulton County.

The board has decided to take aim at Fulton County, which delivered key wins for the Democratic party during the 2020 election cycle and has long been a target of Republican lawmakers.

Many Republicans continue to claim without evidence that fraud in the county contributed to former President Donald Trump’s narrow loss in the state. An independent monitor found no evidence of fraud or impropriety.

The board voted during a meeting on Wednesday morning to appoint three people to conduct a performance review of Fulton County. Members include Republican Ricky Kittle, chairman of the Catoosa County elections board; Democrat Stephen Day, a member of the Gwinnett County elections board; and Ryan Germany, general counsel for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

It is both my hope and expectation that the members of the review board who have been nominated today will take their jobs very seriously and will engage in the review with the singular goal in mind, said election board member Sara Tindall Ghazal.

Critics of the review in Fulton argue that a take over by the state election board could allow for political interference in future elections.

The Associated Press first reported the takeover.

Republican lawmakers last month asked the state board to appoint a performance review panel to investigate Fulton County’s handling of elections.The Republican lawmakers who asked for the review said they want to ensure that election officials in the county, which is home to about 11 percent of the state’s electorate, have been following state voting laws and regulations.

The requests initiated a process outlined in the state’s sweeping new election law that allows lawmakers who represent a given county to request a review of local election officials. In Fulton County, that’s the county board of registration and elections.

The review board is tasked with conducting a complete and thorough investigation of election equipment, registrations, elections and compliance with state law. Then the board should issue a report with evaluations and recommendations.

The process should take about 90 days from the request until a preliminary hearing on the investigation results.

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