Voter challenger rejected for seat on Fulton County election board

Tribune Content Agency

ATLANTA — The Fulton County Commission spurned a Republican Party effort to put a frequent challenger of voters’ eligibility on the county election board Wednesday despite an outpouring of support from conservatives.

The Democratic majority on the commission voted down the nomination of Jason Frazier, who has challenged the registrations of nearly 10,000 people since last year in Fulton, the largest base of Democratic voters in Georgia.

Frazier has said he’s concerned that there might be ineligible voters and inaccurate addresses on the county’s list of registered voters, but his critics say he targeted legitimate voters based on minor inconsistencies in government records.

Commissioner Dana Barrett said Frazier’s mass voter challenges undermined public confidence in elections.

“That is not a serious nomination,” Barrett said. “The dangerous precedent being set here is being set by the nominating body,” the Fulton County Republican Party.

Frazier’s defenders said his citizen activism is needed on the county election board, which decides on challenges to voter eligibility, sets voting locations and election budgets, and certifies election results.

“I am frustrated for all of you who think that having dirty voter rolls, with having 880,000 people on the voter rolls, is good,” said Commissioner Bridget Thorne, a Republican.

Frazier used Georgia’s 2021 voting law that allows anyone to contest an unlimited number of other voters’ qualifications, filing challenges against thousands of voters based on address mismatches, nonresidential addresses and duplicate registrations.

In some cases, eligible voters had to defend their right to vote in hearings before the county election board. Those voters said their qualifications shouldn’t have been questioned because of small discrepancies, such as an error that listed the word “drive” twice at the end of a street name.

More than 40 people, many of them Republicans, spoke in support of Frazier at the commission’s meeting compared with four people who opposed him. Frazier attended the meeting but didn’t speak.

“I have not seen in Jason some highly partisan deep-state conservative plant taking actions to suppress voters,” Clay Jones said in comments to the commission. “Honestly, he’s someone I think we owe a debt to. … Jason has spent countless hours trying to clean up the voter rolls.”

Frazier’s opponents said Fulton’s voter registration lists are clean and there’s no indication of fraud or widespread problems caused by typos or inconsistencies in voter registration records.

All Georgia voters must show a valid ID before they can cast a ballot.

“He wants to make it look like Fulton is worse. This is a way to intentionally break down people’s trust in voting,” said Stephanie Ali, policy director for the New Georgia Project Action Fund, a voter registration organization. “Fulton is better than having someone like this on their board.”

The Fulton election board is made up of two Republican and two Democratic nominees, as well as a chairperson, subject to the approval of the County Commission.

The Fulton Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved the Republican Party’s other nominee to the election board, retired attorney Michael Heekin, as well as the Democratic Party’s two incumbent board members, Teresa Crawford and Aaron Johnson. Each will serve a two-year term.

The commission last month approved a new election board chairwoman, Patrise Perkins-Hooker.

The Fulton County Republican Party can submit a different nominee for the GOP’s second spot on the county election board, which would again be considered by the County Commission.