‘They’re going to pull out every stop’: Georgia Democrats say Republicans already working to corrupt 2022 election
Jon Ossoff (L) and Raphael Warnock (R) (AFP)

Georgia Democrats already see evidence that Republicans are working to corrupt next year's midterm elections.

The state's GOP majority enacted legislation to take over local control of elections in the wake of Donald Trump's election loss and the loss of both Senate seats in the 2020 contest, and Democrats say they're targeting counties with large minority populations, reported Politico.

"It's targeting, literally, the sovereignty of the counties who run their elections," said state Rep. Erick Allen, a Democrat who represents Cobb County and is running for lieutenant governor, "and they are targeting counties that are heavily Black."

The Georgia State Board of Elections appointed a three-person review panel to hunt for evidence of mismanagement in Fulton County, one of the most reliably Democratic counties in the nation and home to 11 percent of Georgia voters, after Trump baselessly claimed fraud there cost him the state.

"It's hard to see how this isn't just a cursory act before the takeover," Allen said. "I don't know anyone that's thinking that this is not going to lead to what we think."

The restrictive new voting law allows the state to disband the local board and appoint a new superintendent if a review panel finds any unresolved errors or infractions against state law, which would give the GOP legislative majority the ability to replace local boards in up to four counties, which Democrats believe will be Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb -- the four most populous and home to most of the state's Democrats.

"Hanging over our heads, we're thinking, 'Big Brother's watching,'" said Jacquelyn Bettadapur, chair of the Cobb County Democratic party. "If [Republicans] don't like what they see, are they going to roll into town and want to do a performance review?"

Senate president pro tem Butch Miller, who co-sponsored the legislation and is now running for lieutenant governor, insisted the GOP statehouse haven't made plans to establish review panels in those counties in the Atlanta area.

"We will get to those counties as time comes, if that's appropriate, but we're not going after [them]," Miller told Politico. "There's no, quote, hit list, unquote. We're just trying to take care of the business at hand."

Democrats aren't buying that, however, and see the legislation and the way it's already being carried out as a warning sign that Republicans plan to overturn any election losses they suffer in 2022.

"If we win these seats like we expect to, there is no stopping them at that point," said Lewanna Heard-Tucker, chair of the Fulton County Democratic Party. "They are going to pull out every single stop. They're trying to make sure that they secure a lineage for a decade or more."