The Georgia House of Representatives voted against several Gwinnett-focused bills during the last week of March, including a bill that would have reconstituted the Gwinnett County Board of Elections and Registrations.
By failing to certify the bill to reconstitute the Gwinnett elections board, there will likely be no changes to the board’s current format until the 2023 legislative session at the earliest. The vote against this bill was especially upsetting to some leaders, who dubbed the rejection “hypocritical”, because the state legislative body voted to approve several similar election board reconstitutions for other counties.
Officials pointed towards the approved bill providing for the reconstitution of the Pickens County elections board as a clear indicator of this hypocrisy, saying that the two bills were nearly identical. Former President Donald Trump received 82% of the popular vote in Pickens County during the most recent presidential election, whereas Gwinnett County swung towards Joe Biden.
The proposed bill for reconstitution would have mandated that the executive members of both the Gwinnett Democratic and Republican parties submit a list of three potential candidates for the elections board. The county commissioners would then choose two members from the provided lists and would appoint a fifth member of the elections board with no partisan considerations.
If the executive committees failed to submit lists by the appointed deadlines, the commissioners would be empowered to choose all members of the elections board independently. If the commisionsers failed to finalize their appointments within 60 days of the openings, the onus for appointment would then fall on the Chief Superior Court Judge.
Legislators who opposed this bill’s passing cited concerns regarding the amount of power it provided the county commissioners, seeing as the county commissioner’s office is now composed entirely of democrats. They are of the opinion that all determinations regarding elections boards should be made on a bipartisan basis to ensure equality.
Opposing legislation pointed out that their colleagues failed to express similar concerns when faced with similar bills in other counties.
For more information:
Did you know that the public can attend Board of Registration and Elections meetings?
These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law. Georgia Open Meetings Act.
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