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BELTON: Closing election loop holes will be General Assembly’s top priority
Belton, Dave
State Rep. Dave Belton

Given the incredibly fast pace of the changing news, I have, thus far, not written about the election. And I always try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep my comments specific to Georgia. However, as Georgia is now the epicenter of the political universe, I feel an obligation to speak out. 

Many of you are very happy with the results of the election. Congratulations. Mr. Biden ran such an energetic campaign that he somehow gained 16 million more votes than Obama…on the very same night that Republicans won 27 out of 27 toss-up Congressional seats and flipped a few state legislatures. Biden did much worse with minorities than Hillary or Obama, and Trump won more percentage of minorities than any Republican president in 70 years. No president in history that gained votes in his reelection subsequently lost that reelection, yet somehow Trump (who gained a whopping 10 million votes from 2016 to 2020) did so during a global pandemic. And Biden underperformed Obama in virtually every county in the USA except around a few select areas such as Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Atlanta; where he super-exceeded Obama by incredible amounts. Wow. 

Because of Republican leadership that created our incredibly successful, low-tax business-friendly environment, Georgia has added 2.7 million people to our state over the last score of years; 800,000 people over the past 10 years; and 285,000 in the last year. 

This huge change in demographics – due to our bountiful cornucopia of great jobs – has moved Georgia from the 10th to the eighth most populous state in the nation.

It has also made us more purple. 

Like many of you, I am concerned at how this election was handled in some Georgia counties. Election officials in Morgan and Newton were admirable. But it seems that in some metro counties, serious problems may have occurred. The Secretary of State (SOS) is currently conducting 250 investigations – including Fulton County’s infamous “water-main break” story – as well as people from out of state declaring their intent to temporarily move here just to vote. That, of course, is a felony that incurs a 10 years prison term…a crime that we will prosecute. 

It is essential that Americans believe that their elections are fair. If there were discrepancies, people on the Left and the Right should want them investigated. As it took Al Gore 36 days to concede back in 2000, I believe we must invest time and effort to ensure the legitimacy of this election. I am ready to go into a Special Session to get that done. 

Thus far, Georgia has already done two machine counts, and one hand-count of the ballots. All three of these counts tabulated roughly the same. This seems to indicate that the machines themselves were not a problem. But it appears that the SOS’ new mass mail balloting process has led a majority of Georgians to question the integrity of this election. I have received – literally – thousands of emails about this. I have watched hours of testimony and read dozens of articles and briefs. I have personally talked to the SOS, as well as the governor and the speaker and the attorney general about your concerns. 

Before COVID, many prominent Democrats said that mass mail ballots were fraught with peril. It is obvious that the way the SOS is conducting mass mail balloting does NOT honor the Georgia law that requires a photo ID to vote. We told the SOS this last March, BEFORE he took the disastrous step of sending them out to everyone in the state. The governor and the speaker and I and most of my colleagues are calling on the SOS to audit the signatures against the signatures on record, as well as count the number of envelopes vs. the number of ballots. Thus far, the SOS has refused. 

Georgia House Republicans are doing our own independent investigation. We recently told the SOS that “significant failures in counties across the state, before, during, and after Election Day” are “unacceptable.” We are imploring him to ensure that signatures for the Senate runoffs (and all future elections) be inspected by independent observers of BOTH parties, and that he immediately reach out to other state agencies to deploy legal experts to county level election centers to safeguard our elections. 

It is true that the Constitution says that state legislators pick the Electors. But the GA Constitution (and virtually every other states’ Constitutions) says that the state legislators select their Electors based on the popular vote. Changing that law now would require the governor calling a Special Session. 

I know that many of you are frustrated. We are following the law and will do what we can within the law. I assure you that election reform – to close these loop-holes that this SOS has created – will be the top priority of the General Assembly when we return in January.

In the meantime, it is incumbent that all patriotic Georgians vote in the Senate Runoff this January. The future of our nation is in your hands.

Dave Belton is a Republican from District 112, serving in the Georgia House of Representatives.