Secretary of State runoff debate, only John Barrow participated

Local News

With the attention of the Georgia Governor’s race outcome and a lawsuit regarding alleged voter problems, it seems the office of the person who manages state elections is in the spotlight.

The two candidates in a runoff election were scheduled to square off in a debate Tuesday, but just one took part.

Republican Brad Raffensperger’s campaign indicated he had a scheduling issue and could not attend the debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press club although the debate had been scheduled several weeks ago.

Democrat John Barrow who did attend didn’t seem to mind taking the stage alone.  He brought up election security issues and then took a swipe at Raffensperger’s alleged tax problems. “If you want integrity in our elections, we’ve got to have integrity in our elected officials,” said Barrow.  “And you don’t get that by hiring folks who are lying their way into office, lying about their taxes – Oh, the dog ate those tax liens or lying about the excuse for not showing up at a debate to defend the positions they’ve taken.”

Barrow is a former Georgia congressman and he trailed his Republican opponent by about one point in the midterm elections. Rraffensbperger is a state representative whose commercials say the future of the voting system may be at stake if Barrow is elected.

Raffensperger was represented by an empty podium as Barrow answered a series of questions about election security, promoting his plan to use paper ballots and get rid of what has been termed antiquated voting machines that use old software. 

 “As far as the actual conduct of our elections I’m the only candidate in this race who’s called for the de-certification of these machines in this year’s elections because they no longer meet the standard of reliability,” said Barrow. 

Barrow says his plan to use the paper ballots which would be counted by high-speed scanners would cost less than his Republican opponent’s. He also said that the controversial Exact Match system can be managed to the betterment of voters. 
 
“The Secretary of State’s office has not stepped up to the plate to exercise authority under Georgia law to provide some guidance,” said Barrow.  “The guidance ought to be if it’s clear this person who’s on the ID is the person who’s on the rolls then you ought to let them vote no matter what little discrepancies there may be.”

Barrow took issue with the idea he doesn’t want to maintain voter rolls.  “Raffensperger claims that I’m opposed to maintaining voter rolls.  He’s taken a difference in how best to do it and turn it in a phony claim that I don’t want to do it which is dishonest,” said Barrow. 

We have reached out Mr. Raffensperger via text and phone in the hope of doing an interview with him about his plans for election improvements and security. 
 

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