U.S. Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, along with several other U.S. senators, has introduced the Preventing Election Subversion Act, which would “institute new safeguards to insulate state election administration from partisan pressure and empower non-partisan local election officials,” according to a press release.
“We cannot allow bad actors to be able to subvert elections through anti-democratic tactics like mass voter challenges or cynically taking over local election boards to usurp the local community’s will and squeeze the people’s voices out of their own government,” Warnock said.
The bill would protect local election officials from partisan efforts to remove them from office, except in cases of “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, with a federal cause of action to enforce this standard.”
It also would allow local elections officials threatened with removal over federal elections to take their case to federal court and require “personal knowledge” of each person’s eligibility to register or to vote before challenging that person’s voter registration.
The move comes amid some “partisan” state officials’ efforts “to interfere with local election boards, fueling election denialism and harassment against local election officials,” according to Warnock’s office. The Republican-led State Elections Board and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also have said that the 2020 Presidential election was fair and accurate, contradicting numerous unfounded claims by former President Donald Trump and Georgia’s slate of fake electors, which included now-Lt. Governor Burt Jones. (The lieutenant governor also serves as president of the Georgia Senate.)
Warnock’s office notes reporting by the nonprofit news site ProPublica that “about 89,000 of 100,000” voter registration challenges in Georgia “were submitted by six right-wing activists” since SB2020 was passed. The challenges overwhelmed local elections offices.
In 27 states, more than 150 bills “would grant more power to partisan actors to interfere with or threaten election workers or processes,” according to Warnock. Seven states, including Georgia, passed such bills into law.
Warnock told TheGrio, “We are in the midst of an all-out assault on democracy and the freedom to vote.”
Learn more about the Preventing Election Subversion Act and the groups supporting it: