As Georgia’s next top elections official, Republican Brad Raffensperger promises to defend broad voter-registration cancellations and strict voting requirements that have fueled accusations of widespread disenfranchisement. Raffensperger, the winner of Tuesday’s runoff for Georgia secretary of state, will continue the work of his predecessor, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. Democrat John Barrow conceded to Raffensperger on Wednesday. While voter fraud is rare in Georgia, Raffensperger emphasizes election integrity over easy access to voting. He plans to cancel registrations of inactive voters, as Kemp did when more than 1.4 million people were removed from the state’s voting list starting in 2012.
“Making sure we keep the voter list up to date so it’s clean, fresh and accurate, it’s very important,” Raffensperger said. “Ten to 15 percent of Georgians move every year. Just in four short years, your list could really start becoming dirty, and I think this is a recipe for open doors for voter fraud.”
Georgia laws already prevent fraud by making voters show photo ID at their polling places, officials said. Raffensperger said he will uphold high identification standards before Georgians can cast a ballot.
But he’ll also likely face prolonged legal battles over Georgia’s elections.