A Republican electoral official in Georgia has harshly criticized the state’s new law, which introduced new voting restrictions and was widely condemned by Democrats and suffrage activists.
Baoky Vu is vice chairman of DeKalb County’s Board of Registration and Elections (BRE). His term expires on June 30th. He was not re-nominated by the local GOP after being reprimanded earlier this year for fighting allegations of mass electoral fraud in the 2020 election.
Speaking to CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday, Vu criticized the state’s electoral integrity law, which went into effect March 25 by Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Burnett told Vu that local Republicans were trying to replace him “with a local conservative with a history of false statements”.
Vu is to be replaced by Paul Maner. DeKalb County’s Democratic Chairman John Jackson has called Maner a “white nationalist, misogynist, and homophobe.”
In January 2020, Maner falsely claimed on social media that the son of US Democratic MP Lucy McBath was killed in a “drug deal that went wrong”. However, McBath’s son was shot dead by a stranger outside a gas station in Florida after he and a group of friends were exposed to the volume of their music.
“I think if you look at this, do you think your removal could affect the results of the next election or, frankly, could have changed the results of 2020?” Burnett asked.
“First of all, yes, it is certainly possible that real electoral integrity will be thrown out the window as you begin to substitute some of these dangerous demagogues for people who have done their duty and are sometimes at great risk to their health and make a living, “said Vu.
“I’m saying that, I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Vu. “The real heroes are those who are nameless, as you said, the workers, the electoral officials, the volunteers, the corporate citizens who took their time and spent money getting people to vote heroes.”
“For me, it’s really about putting American democracy first,” Vu continued. “Why? Because I believe that access to the electorate and the integrity of the elections are the cornerstones of a functioning democracy, and so I simply refuse to be a tool for suppressing voters and incapacitating our citizens.
“Forty-five years ago, my family left Saigon before the communists took over Vietnam, and I was taught never to take our precious freedoms for granted.
The Electoral Integrity Act introduced a number of new measures, including limiting ballot boxes, compulsory identification for postal ballot papers, and restricting the ability to give food and water to voters in line.
DeKalb County’s Republican chairman Marci McCarthy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 11 that Vu “does not really agree with Republican values.”
McCarthy made a statement to Newsweek on Tuesday.
“As the new Republican Chairman of DeKalb, I actually share the DeKalb Democrats ‘continuing concerns about the DeKalb Registration and Election Board of Directors’ ability to facilitate fair and competent elections,” said McCarthy.
“Three weeks before the November 3rd parliamentary elections, local news reports quoted the DeKalb Democrats calling for the resignation of key electoral officials, including one who had represented them for nearly two decades. In the last two election cycles, both parties have cited” the same concerns – long queues for early elections, disagreement among BRE employees, poor administrative processes and the failure to implement board measures – these and other problems plagued the DeKalb elections and have remained unsolved for years.
“In DeKalb, every major political party has the option of appointing two representatives,” she continued.
“Baoky Vu was the only Republican to stand with the DeKalb Democrats against the Electoral Integrity Act (SB202). [and] enabled them to call their anti-electoral integrity proclamation bipartisan.
“As Georgians prepare for yet another highly competitive electoral cycle, we deserve to be represented by Republican leaders who reflect Republican voters ‘priorities and someone who can ultimately do the job of’ FITness – Faith, Integrity and Trust ‘in our elections, ”said McCarthy.
DeKalb is a heavily democratic county that helped hand Georgia over to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won roughly 83 percent of the county’s vote, while winning 49.5 percent of the vote nationwide, defeating former President Donald Trump’s 49.3 percent.
Biden has referred to the state’s new electoral law as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century”.
Newsweek has reached out to Baoky Vu for a comment.
Protesters stand in front of the Capitol on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, protesting House Bill 531. A Republican election official in Georgia sharply criticized the new law on Monday.
Megan Varner / Getty Images