Georgia's Brad Raffensperger, Who Handles Elections, Wasn't Invited to Draft New Voting Law

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said that his office, despite the fact that it's responsible for overseeing elections, wasn't asked to help draft the final version of the state's new voting law.

The Republican secretary of state told the Washington Examiner in an exclusive interview published Thursday that he and his staff weren't invited to assist lawmakers in shaping the final piece of the legislation.

"We were not asked to really be part of it after what happened after the 2020 elections," Raffensperfger said, in an apparent reference to him refusing to go along with former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud. "But now, here we are, and we're now speaking about the good parts of the bill."

The new law was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Brian Kemp in late March. The 96-page bill is an overhaul of the state's electoral process, and contains new restrictions on absentee voting while also expanding some early voting opportunities.

Some of the legislation's most contentious provisions include a ban on giving voters waiting in line food or water, new voter ID requirements for voters who cast their ballot by mail and the limitations places on drop boxes.

The law also stripped power from the secretary of state, making Raffensperger a nonvoting member of the State Election Board. It also gives the board, which is made up of members appointed by the state legislature, new powers to intervene in local elections.

Raffensperger told the Washington Examiner that provision was "retribution" after fallout from the 2020 presidential race. The secretary of state was heavily criticized by Trump and his conservative allies for disputing their baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

His office is also currently investigating Trump's attempts to overturn the state's election results, including a January 2 phone call during which the former president asked Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to make him the winner.

georgia SOS Brad Raffensperger 2020
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's secretary of state, speaks onstage during 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 20, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raffensperger addressed the state's new voting law in an interview with the "Washington Examiner." Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The Republican changes follow Democratic wins in the presidential contest and two Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.

Critics of Georgia's new voting measures have equated them to Jim Crow laws, arguing that they will disproportionately impact voters of color. President Joe Biden described the Georgia legislation, and others like it, as "sick" and "un-American."

Conservative supporters of the bill argue that the law was needed to restore confidence and integrity in elections after the 2020 race. Trump, though, weighed in on the debate on Wednesday, stating that the law was "too weak" and didn't go far enough.

When asked by The Hill recently about Trump's criticism, Raffensperger reiterated that he wasn't a part of crafting the bill, but noted he has been an opponent of no-excuse absentee voting.

"About whether I'm tough enough or not tough enough: I was not asked to weigh in on the bill at all," Raffensperger told the media outlet. "After the 2020 election, the Republicans thought they could handle that best."

Newsweek reached out to Raffensperger's office for additional comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication.