(Bloomberg) — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said a federal court ruling this week denying an injunction against the state’s new voting law is a sign of Republican legal victories to come.
The ruling dealt with election transparency — not the suppression allegations at the heart of other challenges by voting advocates and the U.S. Justice Department — but Raffensperger said he expects the state to continue winning, in part because of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding voting restrictions in Arizona.
That decision “supports everything we have done here,” Raffensperger said in a phone interview, referring to the opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. States have the right to set rules with “the appropriate balance of accessibility and security, and that’s what we have got here in Georgia,” Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger, a Republican, has walked a fine line with Georgia’s new election law, which was pushed in large part because of former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the Georgia election had been stolen and marred by fraud. Raffensperger publicly and consistently debunked those claims, contending the state’s presidential vote was secure.
The provisions signed into law in March require voters to provide a state identification number when voting absentee, and cut the amount of time for early voting. Another provision reduces the secretary of state’s authority over elections — in apparent revenge for Raffensperger’s rejection of Trump’s efforts to overturn the vote.
“I don’t support that,” Raffensperger said of the change.
But he said he has supported absentee voter ID requirements for years. The old way, which used signature matching to verify identification, “was almost a breeding ground for conspiracy theories,” he said.
Raffensperger also supports a part of the new law that allows the state elections board to remove local elections officials, saying it provides a way to hold “wayward counties accountable.”
He counts Fulton County, home of Atlanta and the state’s biggest Democratic stronghold, among those. “We have had issues in Fulton County since 1993,” Raffensperger said, referring to the county’s history of long lines and late returns.