Georgia Republican Baoky Vu Slams Election Law, Refuses To Be 'Tool for Voter Suppression'

A Republican election official in Georgia has strongly criticized the state's new law that introduced new restrictions on voting and was widely condemned by Democrats and voting rights activists.

Baoky Vu is vice-chair of DeKalb County's Board of Registration and Elections (BRE). His term will expire on June 30. He has not been re-nominated by the local GOP after being censured earlier this year for pushing back against claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Vu spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday and strongly criticized the state's Election Integrity Act, which was signed into law by Republican Governor Brian Kemp on March 25.

Burnett told Vu that local Republicans were trying to replace him "with a local conservative with a history of false statements."

Vu is set to be replaced by Paul Maner. DeKalb County Democratic Chairman John Jackson has described Maner as a "white nationalist, misogynist and homophobe."

In January 2020, Maner falsely claimed on social that the son of Democratic U.S. Representative Lucy McBath had been killed in a "drug deal gone bad." However, McBath's son had been shot and killed by a stranger outside a Florida gas station after he and a group of friends were confronted about the volume of their music.

"I guess when you look at this, do you think your removal could impact the results of the next election or, frankly, could have changed the results of 2020?" Burnett asked.

"First of all, yes, it certainly a possibility that real elections integrity would be thrown out the window when you start putting some of these dangerous demagogues in the place of individuals who have carried out their duties and under, at times, great risk to their health and to their livelihoods," Vu said.

"I will say this, I don't consider myself a hero," Vu said. "The real heroes are the ones who are unnamed like you said, the workers, the poll election officials, the volunteers, the corporate citizens who took out their time, spent money in order to get folks out to the polls. Those are the true heroes."

"For me, it really is about putting American democracy first," Vu went on. "Why? Because for me, I believe that voter access and elections integrity are the foundational pillars of functioning democracy and so I refuse, I simply refuse to be a tool for voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement of our citizens.

"Forty-five years ago, my family left Saigon before the Communists took over Vietnam, and I was taught never to take our precious freedoms for granted. So to me, this is one small token of repayment."

The Election Integrity Act introduced a number of new measures, including limiting ballot drop boxes, requiring ID for mail-in ballots and restricting people's ability to give food and water to voters standing in line.

DeKalb County Republican Chair Marci McCarthy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 11 that Vu "was not really aligned with Republican values."

McCarthy issued a statement to Newsweek on Tuesday.

"As the new DeKalb Republican Chairman, I actually share the DeKalb Democrats continued concerns about the DeKalb Board of Registration and Elections' ability to facilitate fair and competent elections," McCarthy said.

"Three weeks prior to the November 3 general election, local news reports cited that the DeKalb Democrats were calling for the resignations of key election officials inclusive of one that represented them for nearly two decades. Over the last two election cycles, both parties have cited the same concerns—long lines during early voting, discord amongst BRE staff, poor administrative processes as well as the failure to implement board measures. These issues and more have plagued past DeKalb elections and gone unresolved for years.

"In DeKalb, each major political party has the opportunity to appoint two representatives," she went on.

"Baoky Vu was the sole Republican who stood with the DeKalb Democrats against the Election Integrity Act (SB202) [and] enabled them to call their anti-election integrity proclamation bi-partisan.

"As Georgians prepare for another highly contested election cycle, we deserve to be represented by Republican leaders that reflect the priorities of Republican voters and by someone who ultimately can get the job done. By replacing Baoky Vu, we are well on our way in restoring 'FITness—Faith, Integrity and Trust' in our elections," McCarthy said.

DeKalb is a heavily Democratic county that helped deliver Georgia to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won around 83 percent of the county's vote, while he won 49.5 percent of the vote statewide, defeating former President Donald Trump's 49.3 percent.

Biden has described the state's new voting law as "Jim Crow in the 21st Century."

Newsweek has asked Baoky Vu for comment.

Demonstrators Protest Georgia's Election Integrity Act 2021
Demonstrators stand outside of the Capitol building in opposition to House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. A Republican election official in Georgia strongly criticized the new law on Monday. Megan Varner/Getty Images