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Following nearly two hours of testimony Tuesday, a House subcommittee gave a do-pass to an elections bill that clarifies the state election’s integrity bill regarding the acceptance of third party funding for elections unless they come through the state, and makes it a felony for accepting those funds. SB 222 by Sen. Max Burns, R-Sylvania, passed the House Government Affairs elections subcommittee and now heads to the full committee today.

“This is essentially a single issue bill, and that is to clarify the language in SB 202 which intended to prohibit all third party findings of elections in Georgia without those funds going through the state of Georgia,” said Burns.

This legislation was introduced after Greater Georgia and former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler called for an investigation into what was referred to as a “new Zuckerbucks” scheme in DeKalb County. Loeffler and Greater Georgia blew the whistle on DeKalb County last month after the DeKalb Board of Elections announced it would accept $2 million in grant money from the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. The Alliance is backed by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which in 2020 partnered with Mark Zuckerberg to funnel $45 million into boards of election in Georgia – primarily in blue counties.

Loeffler claims that Zuckerberg continues to fund this latest effort, “which brings external influence to local election operations despite existing laws banning the practice in Georgia.”

Brad Carver, Chairman of the Georgia GOP State Election Confidence Task Force, was one of the bill’s supporters who addressed the subcommittee Tuesday. “The intent of SB 202, the State’s Election Integrity bill, was to make certain that all financial donations for elections was to flow through the State Election’s Board and the Secretary of State’s office. This ensures that every county gets its fair share of funding. We have to be very careful of private money used in elections, and I ask you to support this bill.”

Supporters of SB 222 also asked the committee to consider some portions of SB 221, also by Burns, that would eliminate drop boxes and addresses other issues with elections including requiring digital ballot images to be displayed online, mandates audits after both primary and general elections, and prohibits non-U.S. citizens from working in county election offices. That bill did not receive a Senate vote prior to Crossover Day.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the Chair of the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections denied any wrongdoing and spoke out against the bill.

Rep. Phil Olaleye, D-Atlanta, proposed an amendment that would make the crime a misdemeanor instead of a felony and reduce the fine from $10,000 to no more than $1,000. That amendment failed.

The subcommittee also gave its okay to an amended SB 129 by Sen. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville). The bill initially granted employees time off to vote. The new version of the bill also requires that application for mail in ballots be marked with the words “THIS IS NOT A BALLOT.” It also includes several “housekeeping changes” as proposed by the Secretary of State’s office.

Rep. Shea Roberts, D-Atlanta, offered several amendments to the bill. However, subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) asked that she propose the amendments to the full committee today.


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