In January, former Senator and current Republican Gubernatorial candidate David Purdue called for an ‘election police unit,’ to “do what Brian Kemp has failed to do” to make Georgia elections “the safest and securest.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated that voter fraud is not widespread in Georgia. That didn’t stop Georgia Republicans and Gov. Brian Kemp from passing SB 202 or the “Election Integrity Act” into law.
Now Georgia Republicans are looking to take things further with a new bill passed on Monday. NBC News reports that SB 441, or “The Criminal Record Responsibility Act.” would give state authorities to investigate election crimes and voter fraud. After passing through the Georgia House and Senate along party lines, it now awaits a signature from Gov. Kemp. This measure is almost similar to the Florida law proposed in March that created a “25-member staff, including 10 law enforcement officers, to investigate allegations of election-related crime.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) will now be able to initiate the inquiries and subpoena people independently. The bill was also due to give the GBI jurisdiction over election crimes and voter fraud, but was later removed. State election workers pushed back on elements of an early version of the bill, which would have made rules about ballot handling and outside donations.
Executive director of the Georgia chapter of the watchdog group Common Cause, Aunna Dennis, says this is a “waste of taxpayer money.”
Dennis said, “If the Bureau is now entrusted with investigating anything that could create doubt about our elections — we suggest they start, first, by investigating those who have been profiting by creating such doubt.”
“So many different groups and partisan extremists have been working to undermine confidence in Georgia’s elections,” Dennis said in a statement.