A new bill making its way through the Georgia General Assembly would, if enacted into law, remove provisions that keep election ballots and other election documents under seal — but only under certain conditions.
The main sponsor, State Representative Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) did not respond to The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment Friday.
Blackmon’s bill, HB 933, would also give people the right to inspect these ballots and documents under certain conditions.
Under the proposed changes, county officials would maintain and preserve the election ballots and documents. No person other than the clerk, county records manager, a clerk-appointed officer, or an election superintendent could touch or physically handle the ballots or other documents.
“Such inspection shall be conducted in a manner that does not alter, amend, damage, modify, or mutilate such ballot or other document,” according to the bill.
The ballots and other documents are still subject to public inspection — but the people inspecting them may not alter, amend, damage, or modify them, according to the bill’s language.
Other bill sponsors include:
• State Representative Shea Roberts (D-Atlanta)
• Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton)
• State Representative Jasmine Clark (D-Lilburn)
• State Representative Will Wade (R-Dawsonville)
Roberts, Jones, Clark, Wade, and members of their respective staffs also did not respond to The Star News’ request for comment on Friday.
Former Republican senator and declared gubernatorial candidate David Perdue and another Georgia resident cited fraud in December in the 2020 elections in Fulton County and filed a suit seeking greater election transparency.
In their lawsuit, Perdue and Elizabeth Grace Lennon requested access to Fulton County’s absentee ballots and absentee envelopes from last year. They filed the suit in the Superior Court of Fulton County. Lennon said county officials denied her the right to vote.
Perdue’s and Lennon’s suit cited former Fulton County Board of Registration Elections Director Richard Barron. The lawsuit said Barron and others “grossly, negligently, or intentionally engaged in and/or permitted multiple unlawful election acts and omissions by their failure, inter alia, to competently oversee the actions of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections employees, staff, agents, and/or contractors in the acceptance and tabulation and counting of absentee ballots, thousands of which were unlawfully marked by machines rather than legally registered Georgia voters.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Shaw Blackmon” by Shaw Blackmon. Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.