Secretary of State Raffensperger Celebrates Legislative Successes, Congratulates General Assembly on Productive Session
Protections for Seniors, Improved Licensing, Enhanced Election Administration Are Part of List of Raffensperger Priorities Adopted by the Legislature
Atlanta, GA – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger celebrated a series of successes in the 2023 General Assembly. Raffensperger saw his priorities passed overwhelmingly by both the House of Representatives and state Senate through this session and on its final day Wednesday.
“This is my fifth General Assembly as Secretary of State, and I count it as one of our most successful,” said Raffensperger. “We passed protections for seniors, got resources to improve licensing to get more people to work and get more nurses providing care, and we have made continued investments to make our already great, voter-centered elections, even better.”
The Senior Protections from Exploitation Against Retirees (SPEAR) Act, SB84, sponsored by Senator Chuck Hufstetler with support of the Secretary’s Securities Division will provide new tools to protect seniors from having their money stolen by grifters, con artists, and criminals. Since COVID, there has been a steady increase in this activity that can have a devastating effect on families.
“The SPEAR Act will provide financial institutions the ability to delay transactions involving the accounts of elderly and at-risk Georgians,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “This proactive measure against fraud is my key legislative priority of this session. I am grateful for its overwhelming passage and look forward to Governor Kemp signing it into law.”
In the area of licensing, more analysts for the Professional Licensing Board have been provided that will increase the speed at which licenses can be issued. Since taking office, Raffensperger has overseen a massive increase in the number of licenses issued and renewals obtained. That increase is most notable in the area of nursing where there have been over 65,000 new nurses added to the workforce since January of 2019.
“Getting people to work as quickly as possible is our goal,” continued Raffensperger. “I am pleased we have these additional resources to help Georgians pursue their careers. On top of that, I believe this session has led to some great conversations about reforming professional licensing overall that will yield benefits in the sessions to come.”
The legislature made important investments requested by Raffensperger to continue to improve election administration and enhance the voter experience. The data plan for the upgraded PollPad check in devices will improve speed for the poll workers and cut down check-in times, especially in early voting. A $2 million investment will start the transition to upgraded Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) for ballot marking devices which are more reliable and have a longer life cycle.
Voters will be able to take time off work to vote during the early voting period, like they have been able to on Election Day. Other updates have been made to make things easier on counties, like moving the time for reporting Election Day turnout from 10pm to 11:59pm.
“Since 2019 with the passage of HB316, the roll out of the new, verifiable paper ballot voting system, and the passage of the Election Integrity Act, we have seen a strong partnership with our office and the General Assembly,” Raffensperger stated. “Working so strongly together has made Georgia the national leader in running successful elections. I look forward to building on this partnership and these successes in the years ahead.”
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 17 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record turnout in 2020, and 2022. 2022 achieved the largest single day of in-person early voting turnout in Georgia midterm history utilizing Georgia’s secure, paper ballot voting system.