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Secretary of State proposes GBI, State Troopers assist at polling locations -- Black activists respond

A recent proposal from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is drawing criticism from Black activists.

ATLANTA — Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says he wants the elections process to be safe and secure for everyone but, some activists argue, it already is.

Last Monday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger held a press conference regarding elections security. He laid out ways to help improve it.

"I fully support the proposal to fund two elections investigation positions at GBI and to allow GBI to independently investigate elections complaints," Raffensperger said.

In addition to those measures, Raffensperger also wants to use troopers to man the over 2,000 election locations around the state.

"I'm calling on the general assembly, the governor, and the state elections board to authorize Georgia State Patrol to provide security for voters, poll workers and credentialed poll watchers at every voting location," he said.

The state leader said this is in response to elections fraud and numerous poll workers being threatened during the previous election cycle.

"We have to really have a hard conversation about this misinformation that’s driving policy decisions," Attorney Gerald Griggs with the NAACP said. "It doesn't make sense."

"There is no issue with voting. I think he said that on numerous occasions, I believe the governor has said that on numerous occasions. By putting troops or extra local law enforcement at polling sites (it) is going to have a chilling effect on legal voters," he said.

Tyrone Dennis, a former APD officer and detective of nearly 20 years, agrees.

"Crime is up in every metropolitan city, including Atlanta, and I think that those resources could be relocated towards that, more so than voting," Dennis said.

Dennis says officers will serve in any capacity they are told, but he also says officers don't get paid enough the be used as political pawns on either side.

He adds it's the boots on the ground that receive the most backlash, firsthand, when decisions like this are made.

"I think that it plays into the propaganda that the election process is not secure," he said.

11Alive reached out to the secretary's office for his response to these concerns; they responded that they are working on it.

11Alive also reached out to GBI and GSP to get an estimated cost and to see if they have enough staffing to fulfill a request of this nature. At last check, there were less than 1,000 Georgia State Troopers. GBI responded that they are working on it.

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