Brad Raffensperger is running for secretary of State, and is in the race to change how the office handles business regulation and licensing.

“No. 1 is, I’m a business owner, and so I’ve dealt with corporations — I actually had a bill in the General Assembly which would allow a corporation to be renewed for up to three years, which we passed.

Unfortunately, the software hasn’t been updated to accomplish that, so that’d be the first thing,” Raffensperger said.

The state representative from Johns Creek is one of four Republicans seeking his party’s nomination for Secretary of State.

“It’s really about how do you streamline regulations and corporations and also licensing,” Raffensperger said. “I’m a licensed civil engineer, and I design structures — and also a licensed general contractor — and so there’s over 130 different licenses and 40 different boards. I think I can bring something to that, and I also understand how important they are to people.

“The House, fortunately, is going to have a study committee this summer to really review the whole licensing process, like, ‘Do we really need to license this profession, or this occupation?’ Occupational licensing — there’s an appropriate role for it. I think engineers should be, not because I’m one, but so that buildings don’t fall down. But you don’t want to be placing a burden for some young person to really start a career and start making money. Those are two of the big points.”

If people are not aware of the duties of the secretary of State’s office through business affairs, they typically learn of how the office presides over the state elections apparatus.

Raffensperger said he believes voting machines need to be updated, and that as an engineer, he can bring a perspective that can lead to the best solution.

He noted a trial run in Conyers where electronic machines print out a paper ballot with your choices on it so that you can review it and make sure they’re correct, then you feed it into an optical scanner, which is when the votes get counted, providing an auditable paper trail.

The system should be able to speed up vote counts by hours in some places, especially with early and absentee votes.

“I’m not saying we need any one system — Secretary Kemp just put together a commission (a few) days ago with 18 members, and they’re going to start looking at it,” Raffensperger said. “But at the end of the day, I think we need to update the machines — they’re 16 years old, and now we need something with an auditable paper trail.”

The primary is May 22 and the general election is Nov. 6. Early voting begins today and is available through May 18.

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