Another key week in Georgia state and local politics is drawing to a close. Several regional storylines made headlines over the past seven days.
Here’s a summary of some of the week’s top stories:
Fulton elections staffer wins major award after enduring false Trump accusations
A Fulton County board of elections worker whom Donald Trump falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election received a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Thursday.
Wandrea “Shaye” Moss was one of five people to win this year’s award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, along with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Arizona state Rep. Russell “Rusty” Bowers.
Trump previously accused Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, of counting absentee ballots stored in hidden suitcases during their election night work at State Farm Arena on Nov. 3, 2020, after surveillance video from the arena was leaked online.
Georgia’s voting system manager, Gabriel Sterling, later said that election workers had stored uncounted absentee ballots in containers around 10 p.m. on election night.
Secretary of State lead investigator Frances Watson told WSB-TV in December that no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
Moss and her mother received death threats and racist taunts as a result of the false accusations, forcing her to change her appearance and go into hiding for a time, according to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
“Despite the onslaught of random, undeserved, and malicious attacks, Moss continues to serve in the Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections doing the hard and unseen work to run our democracy,” the foundation said in a post on its website.
Major decline in Georgia automatic voter registrations raises concerns
The state Department of Driver Services experienced a steep drop in the number of automatic voter registrations it processed last year, according to government records recently obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2020, 79% of people who visited driver’s license offices in Georgia were processed through the DDS automatic voter registration program, which launched in 2016. That figure shrunk by half to just 39% in 2021, the AJC reported.
The decline may be the result of a change on a government website requiring people to click “Yes” or “No” when asked if they want to register. Prior to January 2021, visitors were automatically registered unless they checked a box to opt out, the AJC reported.
The latest version of the driver’s license website, which was updated a few weeks ago, reverted to automatically registering people to vote, requiring them to choose if they want to opt out, according to AJC.
The “opt out” choice is now more prominently shown on the site.
Abrams asks judge to shut down unlimited contributions to Brian Kemp committee
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Wednesday filed a motion asking a federal judge to order an end to the unlimited donations made to Brian Kemp’s Georgians First leadership committee.
Georgia law permits certain elected officials, including the governor and lieutenant governor, to form leadership committees to which donors can contribute as much as they want, according to The Associated Press, but candidates for statewide office can’t receive more than $7,600 for a primary or general election and $4,500 for a runoff election.
Critics argue the law is unconstitutional and unfairly favors incumbents over challengers, since it allows the former to raise limitless sums prior to a primary election.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen rejected an Abrams’ campaign request to allow her One Georgia committee to raise unlimited funds prior to the Democratic primary on May 24.