Republicans sue over rejection of party nominee to election board in Georgia's most populous county
The Republican Party in Georgia's most populous county is suing local elected officials over the rejection of one of the party's nominees to serve on the county election board, saying he was being punished for trying to clean up voter rolls.
In the lawsuit filed Friday, the Fulton County Republican Party asks a judge to order the county Board of Commissioners to appoint Jason Frazier to the county Board of Elections and Registration. Fulton County, which includes most of the city of Atlanta, is a Democratic stronghold.
Frazier has recently filed challenges to the eligibility of thousands of Fulton County voters. The GOP lawsuit notes that both state and federal law permit such challenges and his "demonstrated commitment to preserving the integrity" of the state's elections makes him "uniquely suited to help the county's election process." That is why the county Republican Party nominated him to the election board, the suit says.
The five-member county election board is to be made up of two people nominated by the county Republican Party, two people nominated by the county Democratic Party and a chairperson appointed by the Board of Commissioners. The commissioners named a chairperson in May and voted unanimously to approve the two Democratic nominees and one Republican nominee on June 7. But Frazier's nomination was twice rejected, on June 7 and June 21, with only the two Republican commissioners voting to approve his nomination each time.
The lawsuit names the Board of Commissioners and each of the seven commissioners as defendants. The Associated Press has sent an email to each commissioner seeking comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit calls the commissioners' rejection of Frazier's nomination a "cynical act of partisanship."
"They did so because Frazier had sought to compel Fulton County to clean up its voter rolls," the lawsuit says. "(I)nstead of commending Frazier for his efforts, the Board of Commissioners punished him."
The lawsuit says the commissioners violated the law in rejecting his nomination, pointing out that the Fulton County Code says the commissioners "shall" appoint two members from nominations made by the leaders of the county Republican and Democratic parties.
During the June 7 meeting, the county attorney affirmed that Frazier meets the qualifications to serve on the county election board, and no commissioner disputed that, the lawsuit notes.
Republican Commission Vice Chairman Bob Ellis warned that failing to approve Frazier's nomination could result in litigation.
Democratic commissioners said during the June 7 meeting that while they are required to appoint two nominees submitted by each party, that doesn't mean they have to approve any particular nominee who is put forth.
Fulton County has a history of election problems, including long lines to vote and delays in reporting results. After a particularly troubled primary in 2020, an independent monitor was appointed to observe the general election that year as part of a consent agreement between the county and the State Election Board. The monitor said the county's elections were badly managed but he found no evidence of fraud.
Former President Donald Trump focused on Fulton County after he narrowly lost Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 general election. He made unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud in the county.
Republican lawmakers used a sweeping election law passed in 2021 to appoint a review panel to determine whether the state should take over Fulton County's elections. That panel submitted its final report to the State Election Board in January, citing improvement and recommending against a state takeover. The state board voted last month to end that performance review.