ATLANTA – The Republican-controlled State Election Board voted Tuesday to move forward with a proposed rule that would give members of local election boards discretion in deciding whether to certify election results.

The rule would give counties the authority to conduct a “minimum level of oversight” of election results before they’re certified, Salleigh Grubbs, who chairs the Cobb County Republican Party, told the five-member board before the 3-1 vote.

“There is a crisis of confidence in our elections,” Grubbs said. “The oversight of elections in each county is critical to restoring trust.”

But opponents argued that election officials in Georgia do not have discretion to vote against certification.

“Though the petition claims this rule will clarify ambiguity about an election official’s duty to certify results, the Georgia Supreme Court has consistently interpreted that duty as a ministerial one rather than discretionary,” the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and the voting rights organization United to Protect Democracy wrote jointly in comments submitted to the board before Tuesday’s meeting.

“Therefore, this language conflicts with longstanding Georgia case law and would sow disorder in the state’s election administration processes, which already have safeguards to ensure election results are accurate and reliable.”

Sara Tindall Ghazal, the lone Democrat on the board, said the proper time to address complaints of voter fraud is after an election has been certified.

“There are procedures for investigating after the fact,” she said. “Without certification, a candidate cannot contest an election.”

Board Chairman John Fervier proposed an alternative to the rule Grubbs presented that would have restricted the types of documents a local election board member could request to see before voting on certifying an election. Otherwise, he said, local boards could be inundated by limitless requests for documents that would unnecessarily drag out the process.

But board member Dr. Janice Johnston, who made the motion to approve Grubbs’ proposal, opposed putting restrictions on the number of documents a board member could request.

“Every election document should be available to every member of the board,” she said.

Three of the four Republican board members supported the rule, with Ghazal voting in opposition and Fervier abstaining.

The board is expected to conduct a final vote on the proposed rule next month.