Jan 21, 2022 - Politics

Perdue proposes "election law enforcement division"

Voter casts ballot in dropbox
A voter casts an absentee ballot early in October 2020 in Athens. Photo: John Bazemore/AP

Former senator and gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue says he wants to create an “Election Law Enforcement Division” within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to enforce election laws, investigate election-related crimes and arrest offenders.

Why it matters: This is the latest Republican proposal circulating in response to the 2020 election, in which the U.S. attorney general found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Yes, but: In his budget proposal Gov. Brian Kemp has included about $500,000 per year to create two full-time and two part-time dedicated election complaints investigators within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

  • House Speaker David Ralston plans to introduce a bill that would give GBI the ability to investigate election law violations without being invited by local governments.
  • The GBI assisted with the Secretary of State’s Office’s election investigations last year.

The big picture: The Secretary of State’s Office already employs two dedicated election investigators within a force of about two dozen POST-certified investigators (who are also charged with investigating things like licensing violations).

  • Investigators refer cases to the State Election Board, which then votes on whether to send cases to either a district attorney or the Georgia Attorney General for further legal action.
  • Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has asked for more resources for his investigations unit for years, including this past week.

Of note: At one time, the secretary of state’s entire investigations unit focused on last year’s election-related allegations and launched more than 250 investigations. The State Election Board referred 35 complaints to district attorneys and the attorney general.

What hes saying: Perdue told a Valdosta radio program that the secretary of state managing both elections administration and elections investigations is like "grading your own homework."

Context: This election law enforcement agency idea has already been proposed in Florida by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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