Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State
2019 – present
Mail-In Ballots — Expecting a wave of voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raffensperger sent absentee ballot applications to all active, registered voters before the 2020 primary. He was criticized by Republicans for this move, some of whom even tried to pass a law banning the Secretary of State from doing this in the future. Later, he created an online portal for voters to request mail-in ballots.
Voter Roll Purges — Raffensperger has continued the policy of his predecessor, Brian Kemp, and has periodically purged the voter rolls of names no longer believed to represent current Georgia voters. As he told CNN, “There is no legitimate reason to keep ineligible voters on the rolls.” However, he was criticized for this action by voting rights groups like the Brennan Center for Justice who believe that purges at times disenfranchise eligible voters.
Before being elected Secretary of State, Raffensperger served on the Georgia General Assembly from 2015 – 2018 as representative of District 50. Before that, he served on the Johns Creek City Council from 2012 – 2014. He is the CEO of Tendon Systems, LLC.
Refusal to Overturn the 2020 Election — Raffensperger became embroiled in national controversy during the extremely close and heavily contested 2020 Presidential election in Georgia when he refused to “find 11,780 votes” as personally requested by then-President Donald Trump. This highly-specific number would have put Trump into the lead over President Joe Biden, overturning the election results.
As a result, Raffensperger is hated by many Trump-loyalists in the Republican base. He reported receiving numerous death threats against himself and his family for months after the election. During the next legislative session, the Republican-dominated Georgia General Assembly stripped him (and all future Secretaries of State) from the position of chair of the Georgia Board of Elections, greatly diminishing his power to oversee elections.