The Georgia Senate is nominating a fifth member to the State Election Board as House Speaker Jon Burns pushes for changes in voting and says he wants to make the board more independent of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Republican Lt. Gov Burt Jones announced the choice of former state Sen. Rick Jeffares on Thursday to the Senate Republican Caucus. The full Senate must confirm Jeffares.

Jeffares, a Republican, would take the place of Matt Mashburn on the board. Senate Republican leaders told Mashburn several months ago that they didn't intend to reappoint him. But his ouster didn't become public until after he voted against investigating Raffensperger.

Jeffares would join a board besieged by Republican activists who claim Donald Trump was cheated out of Georgia's 16 electoral votes in 2020 and want big changes, including a shift away from the state's electronic voting machines to paper ballots that would be marked and counted by hand.

If anything, the heat on board members is likely to rise this presidential election year, as Republican lawmakers respond to the same pressures. Jones joined 15 other Republicans claiming to be legitimate electors for Trump in Georgia even though Joe Biden had been certified as the winner.

On Wednesday, Burns said he wants to eliminate the use of computer-readable codes by the state's Dominion voting machines. That system, used statewide by nearly all in-person voters includes touchscreen voting machines that print ballots with a human-readable summary of voters' selections and a QR code that a scanner reads to count the votes.

A federal trial that focuses in part on whether the machines can be hacked or manipulated to alter QR codes began Monday.

Burns said he believes lawmakers, when they passed an intensely disputed election law rewrite in 2021 that was aimed at pacifying disaffected Republicans, intended for machines to use special security paper and for ballots to not use QR codes.

Burns said changes are needed "so the voters of this state can have confidence and feel like there's transparency in what they're doing when they cast a vote."

Raffensperger has asked for $4.7 million to be appropriated for machines to allow voters to check the computer codes printed on their ballots. His office earlier estimated that the state would need to spend $15 million to buy new ballot printers across the state to produce a larger ballot if the QR code is removed.

The speaker also said he wants the State Election Board to function more independently of Raffensperger's office. Lawmakers in 2021 removed the secretary as a voting member of the board. Burns said he believed the board was about to hire its first employee, and he said lawmakers are discussing whether to shift election investigators who work for the secretary of state over to the State Election Board.

Burns denied that his plan has anything to do with a proposal to investigate Raffensperger over problems with Fulton County's by-hand recount of the 2020 election. That effort failed last month when Mashburn and the board's sole Democratic member, Sara Tindall Ghazal, voted against it, deadlocking the board 2-2.

Gov. Brian Kemp last week named John Fervier, a Waffle House executive, to chair the board. Fervier must be confirmed by lawmakers, but Burns on Wednesday endorsed his candidacy.

How Fervier and Jeffares would vote on the board is unclear.

Jeffares served in the state Senate from 2011 until he resigned in 2017 to run for lieutenant governor. Before that he was a water system operator, city manager of Locust Grove and a Henry County commissioner.

Jeffares' failed bid for lieutenant governor was backed by Jones and eight other current Republican state senators, including Senate President Pro Tem John Kennedy of Macon.

Jeffares later gave $7,600 to Jones' campaign for lieutenant governor in 2022.