From left: Brookhaven City Council member John Funny, Mayor John Ernst, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce President Alan Goodman and Brookhaven City Council member Madeleine Simmons.

About 70 business owners gathered to hear Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speak at the Sept. 12 Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Brookhaven City Council members John Funny, Linley Jones, Madeleine Simmons and Mayor John Ernst were in attendance. 

With 1.4 million active corporations in the state, Raffensperger said Georgia is the number one state for business.

Raffensperger told the attendees about cutting his political teeth at the Johns Creek City Council in 2012. He joked about being the “Runoff King” after winning runoffs to Johns Creek City Council, the Georgia House of Representatives and Secretary of State. He was re-elected as Secretary of State in 2022. 

During the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Raffensperger refused to change Georgia’s election results at the request of President Donald Trump. 

Raffensperger has recently made headlines about the 14th Amendment and Trump’s run for the 2024 presidential election. 

“I was very clear that I don’t believe the 14th Amendment is the appropriate process to decide who will be on the ballot. Voters get to decide who will be on the ballot. That’s what we fought for in 1776,” Raffensperger said. “I trust the voters.”

The Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce is hosting a debate on Oct. 5, in conjunction with Rough Draft Atlanta, for candidates running for city council and mayor. 

“I just want to prepare all of your candidates here. Have fun. Knock on lots of doors,” he said, adding he wore out a couple pairs of shoes during campaigns. 

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Raffensperger took a few questions from the audience, offering his opinions about secure elections in Georgia, eliminating voters from the voter rolls and abolishment of the electoral college.

He is the first Secretary of State to pass legislation requiring photo ID for all forms of voting, and the first to hold counties accountable to voters by expanding polling places according to his biography.  

The Georgia General Assembly must remain mindful of passing laws that affect voting in counties of all sizes, he said. 

“Right now we’re doing health checks of all the [voting] equipment for all 159 counties,” Raffensperger said, adding the process will conclude in December. 

Logan C. Ritchie writes features and covers Brookhaven for Rough Draft Atlanta.