Georgia lawmakers should stop pandering and start legislating.

It is shocking to see lawmakers push for election reform while acknowledging there was no widespread voter fraud in the general election or Senate runoff. But they claim reform is necessary because a lot of their constituents believe widespread voter fraud occurred.

Why not show some real leadership instead of blindly following misinformation?

This narrative is bad for Republicans and now GOP leaders must now grapple with what to do with extremists in the party. Extremists such as Marjorie Taylor Greene who compromises the credibility of thoughtful, well-meaning Republicans everywhere.

For example, this past week, Republican state Sen. Bill Cowsert said the push to overhaul Georgia election laws amounts to little more than sour grapes.

Here is what Cowsert said, “I have never received the number of constituent contacts — phone calls, emails, letters — on any subject matter like I have after the election this fall. There’s really a crisis in confidence in the public on the validity and integrity of the election returns. Now a lot of it might just be sour grapes, people unhappy that they lost.”

Fellow Republican, state Rep. Allan Powell conceded during a meeting of the Special Committee on Election Integrity that widespread voter fraud just “wasn’t found.” He added, “It’s just in a lot of people’s minds that there was.”

These Republicans are simply telling the truth.

The GOP must follow the truth if it is going to hold its ground in Georgia.

There is no need for the plethora of proposed bills to revamp the state’s election apparatus.

The handful of voting irregularities across the state last year was not disproportionate to what we might see in any election.

There are already election laws in place to investigate and even prosecute those few irregularities in the cases where laws were broken.

GOP lawmakers have introduced dozens of bills that target mail-in voting overall, even stricter voter ID requirements and the practice of no-excuse mail-in voting.

Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger repeatedly said his office found no indication of widespread voter fraud and decried the massive disinformation campaign that suggested otherwise.

Quite simply, both Republicans and Democrats want safe, secure, accurate elections with only people who are legally registered to vote casting a ballot. And that is exactly what we have now with only a few exceptions that have been properly investigated.

Election security should be a priority and, yes, tweaks to processes are warranted when problems are found. But that is a far cry from revamping or overhauling the system in a way that would discourage or suppress the vote.

There is simply no reason for lawmakers to spend all this time and energy overhauling our elections. The whole thing seems to be a matter of legislation looking for a problem to fix.

We strongly agree with Republican Bill Cowsert when he said, “a lot of it might just be sour grapes, people unhappy that they lost.”

THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES

Valdosta, Georgia