Georgia House Speaker wants lawmakers to pick elections chief

Bowing to pressure from Trump supporters who are unhappy with Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston is calling for an amendment to the Georgia constitution that would allow the legislature, not voters, to choose the secretary of state.

The threat from Ralston comes after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger declined to speak before a Georgia House committee hearing at which Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked for all votes for Joe Biden votes to be thrown out in Georgia.

“As the state’s chief elections official, it is incumbent on the Secretary of State to be responsive to the People’s House and faithfully perform his or her duties in accordance with the laws passed by the General Assembly,” said Ralston, a republican from Blue Ridge. “When the Secretary of State refuses to fulfill his Constitutional duties to answer questions from House members, it comes time to re-evaluate how that statewide officer is selected.”

The House Governmental Affairs Committee today held a hearing on election processes in Georgia. Chairman Shaw Blackmon invited the Secretary’s Office to participate in and answer questions at that hearing.  The Secretary of State’s Office declined to appear.

“I have great personal respect for our current Secretary of State; however, I cannot ask the members of the House of Representatives to face questions about our elections and their integrity without the cooperation of the Secretary of State’s Office,” said Ralston. “It is unfair to the members of the House of Representatives and those Georgians they represent. As Speaker of the House, I must advocate for our chamber, and that is what I am doing by advancing this proposal.” 

Ralston also recounted several instances in which the Secretary of State’s Office had acted without the input or consent of the General Assembly earlier this year including entering in a consent agreement that changed the process for signature verification and sending out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter.

“As the branch of government closest to the people, we take seriously our oversight responsibility,” said Ralston. “This measure will bring greater accountability to this important office.”

The Secretaries of State of Tennessee, Maine, and New Hampshire are all elected by their respective state legislatures. 

Despite Ralston’s calls for a constitutional amendment, Ralston has gone on record as not supporting a special session of the legislature to overturn Georgia’s election results.

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