Exactly 25 Georgia legislators have proposed adding an amendment to the state constitution that would create a state-wide panel of grand jurors to investigate or indict people for alleged election law violations.
This, according to a bill that primary sponsor State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) introduced Thursday.
Under the bill, Georgia’s attorney general would petition members of the state supreme court to summon and empanel 13 to 23 grand jurors for a period not to exceed one year.
“The subject matter jurisdiction of state-wide grand juries shall extend to the investigation and indictment of persons or legal entities for any crime involving voting, elections, or a violation of the election laws of this state and all related crimes,” according to the language of the bill.
The chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court would designate a superior court judge to oversee each state-wide grand jury. Under Gooch’s bill, the state attorney general would advise these juries.
According to Ballotpedia, members of the Georgia House of Representatives or the Georgia State Senate can propose amending the state constitution. Exactly two-thirds of the membership of each chamber must approve the proposed amendment before they pass it along to Georgia voters. Voters may only vote on proposed amendments during general elections of even-numbered years.
As The Georgia Star News reported last month, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) said he wants legislators to discuss “serious, meaningful election reform” during the current legislative session, and he suggested state officials require a photo ID if people vote absentee.
Duncan, during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, also pitched the idea of a statewide grand jury to monitor possible election fraud.
“Certainly over the last several months we have had a vigorous debate, one that I feel like challenged some initial progress to election reform because of the amount of misinformation and the amount of conspiracy theories that, quite honestly, were not true, unfounded, and debunked in a matter of seconds most times. But like every election cycle, I believe there is an opportunity to take some lessons learned and look for opportunities to make our elections even better,” Duncan said.
“We are going to take the next 40 legislative days to really examine opportunities to do that as we move forward. I think there are opportunities to not even have to think outside the box but modernize.”
Duncan said that a statewide grand jury could investigate alleged election fraud in a local jurisdiction. That, Duncan added, “would remove any sense of local politics out of the initial equation.”
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