Georgia official says Republicans need leadership, not election reform

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Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan outlines his agenda for the 2020 legislative session at the State Capitol on Monday. (Photo by Beau Evans)

The Players: Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan appeared on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd to discuss Georgia’s controversial election reform bills.

About Geoff Duncan: Duncan, who is a Republican, has been critical of Donald Trump in the past. During the controversy surrounding the Nov. 6 election, Duncan was quoted as saying that the Republican party is bigger than one person, referring to Trump. He has criticized claims of voter fraud in Georgia.

In December, Duncan said he believed misinformation about the election hurt the Republican brand and that the party was “certainly bigger than one person.”

The Quote: Here’s what Duncan said when Chuck Todd asked about his view on election reform in Georgia:

“Republicans don’t need election reform to win, we need leadership. I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections.”

Duncan also said he wants to see more people vote.

Background: Election reforms proposed in Georgia include ending no-excuse absentee voting, requiring a photo ID to cast an absentee ballot, ending early voting on Sundays, and shortening the length of time voters have to request absentee ballots. Critics of these measures say the set of reforms are designed to prevent African Americans — who tend to vote for Democrats — from voting in high numbers.

Why it Matters: As Lt. Gov., Duncan presides over the Georgia senate, which was the origin point of the most controversial reforms. He recused himself during discussion of the bills as a way to show he doesn’t support the reforms since he doesn’t get to vote. Duncan also wields influence with Gov. Brian Kemp. While he did not indicate whether or not Kemp might veto the reforms, he did say he and the governor were in “lock-step” on no-excuse absentee voting.

Duncan’s words are also important as they add to the growing chorus of Republicans looking to reform the party and move beyond Donald Trump’s gravitational pull on the party.

What’s Next: Duncan was asked if he was going to run for senate after his term as Lt. Gov. ends, and he said he has no intention to run and plans to remain in his current post.

Photo: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan outlines his agenda for the 2020 legislative session at the State Capitol on Monday. (Photo by Beau Evans)

This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting statements by public officials called The Public Record, where we present recent quotes by public officials or candidates. You may not be able to attend every public meeting or see every occasion where your representatives speak, but you still have a right to know what your representatives and those who hope to represent you have been saying.

“Because public men and women are amenable ‘at all times’ to the people, they must conduct the public’s business out in the open.” -Charles L. Weltner Sr., former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court

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