Nov 3, 2022 - Politics

Former Fulton elections director Richard Barron launches "Election Insider" podcast

richard barron

Former Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron. Photo: Ben Gray/AP

Richard Barron no longer oversees elections for Georgia’s most populous county, but he still has a lot to say about how misinformation has sowed doubt in the process.

Driving the news: Barron, the former director of the Fulton County Registration and Elections Department, is the host of a new podcast called Election Insider where he and guests discuss challenges facing election administration.

  • Ten episodes have been recorded and published featuring guests discussing election-related news across the country.

What he's saying: Barron told Axios he took up podcasting after leaving Fulton County to "talk about my experiences and put my perspective on things."

  • "I think there are a lot of interesting stories out there and I'm not sure how many of them are getting airtime from somebody who worked in elections," he said.

State of play: Barron told Axios that election misinformation has been top of mind since former President Trump began raising questions about 2020's outcome on election night.

  • In the podcast's first episode, Barron says he was accused of being a Russian mole by some on the left who questioned the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial contest.
  • However, he said Republican election deniers have taken threats to the next level since 2020.

Catch up quick: Barron resigned from Fulton County in April after nine years on the job. He initially planned to leave in December 2021, but stayed until an interim director was found.

  • He became the most high-profile elections director in Georgia when Trump personally attacked him during a rally in Valdosta in December 2020.
  • That led to death threats for him, as well as his staff.

Other issues the podcast touches on include threats to election workers; consultants illegally accessing election data in Coffee County; approval vs. ranked choice voting systems; and the extremist constitutional sheriffs movement, which Barron finds the "most troubling."

  • He told Axios the movement is "disturbing" because its backers encourage people to interrupt the election certification process in their counties.

The bottom line: After managing elections for 23 years in a nonpartisan capacity, Barron said the GOP's tolerance of misinformation among some of its constituents laid the groundwork for people to unjustly call into question the security and fairness of the system.

  • "I think a lot of them know that the election system in our country is fine because they don't ever question the results of their own elections when they win," he said.
  • "They need to think about the country before party and before their own jobs and be willing to lose those jobs just like Liz Cheney did."

Be smart: You can subscribe to Election Insider on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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