SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As republican lawmakers at the Georgia Statehouse propose new and more strict voting laws, the Chatham County GOP is throwing its support behind passage of those bills. That includes new identification requirements for those seeking absentee ballots.
“The biggest thing is to create a new chain of custody. If you and I go vote in person or vote early we have to show our ID and prove who we are when we vote,” said Carl Smith from the Chatham County GOP.
Smith and others who joined him in a press briefing Wednesday repeated claims of election irregularities despite three separate vote recounts in the state that upheld results and despite numerous legal challenges that produced no proof of fraud
Smith insisted that the number of absentee ballots cast in Chatham County (about 41,000 in 2020 compared to about 14,000 in 2016) was a problem in terms of verifying ballots and counting them.
He took issue (as many other republicans have in recent months) with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperer making certain changes to election process as part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit with the democratic party of Georgia. The “consent decree” as it is often referred to by republicans centered on how absentee ballot signatures are verified and offered voters the opportunity to be notified that their signature was being questioned and provided time for the voter to rectify the issue rather than just automatically having their ballot just thrown out.
Smith and other local GOP members who gathered with him for the press event, also took issue with area drop boxes for absentee ballots, saying the many ballots deposited in the drop boxes may not have been secured. Members of the Board of Registrars last fall outlined security measures, including 24 hour electronic surveillence, required at all drop boxes in Chatham County.
Smith said the drop boxes and absentee ballot signatures along with the widespread use of absentee ballots in 2020 remained focal points for GOP complaints. He also took issue that two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, supported by the Chatham County GOP would amount to voter suppression.
“I would ask them to show me how that goes against a minority voter or any voter,” he said. “Again, ask me how anything in that bill prevents any legal voter form being able to cast a ballot,”
Several voting rights groups have already weighed in on the Georiga bills, saying it would adversely affect minority voters more than others.
Smith however, says the local GOP is asking for support for the bills and for their