Secretary Raffensperger Leads Full-Scale Investigation to Combat Illegal Voting
(Atlanta) -- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is coordinating a whole of government effort to combat illegal voting in Georgia, coordinating with the Governor’s office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and local elections departments on the initiative. The Office of the Secretary of State has already launched over 250 investigations into credible elections concerns this year and begun a signature audit in Cobb County.
“I am committed to marshalling all resources available to ensure qualified Georgians and —only Georgians— cast ballots in Georgia,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “We have enlisted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, coordinated with the Governor’s office, and focused our office’s POST-certified investigative staff on upholding the integrity and legitimacy of ballots cast in Georgia. Georgia’s voters should be assured that we are taking every measure to protect our elections from fraud.”
The Secretary of State’s Office is coordinating across several levels of the Georgia government to stop and root out illegal voting in Georgia.
The Secretary of State’s Office has already dedicated its team of POST-certified investigators to look into the over 250 election cases related to elections in 2020, around 130 of which related specifically to the November elections. The office’s 23 investigators have all been tasked with investigating and completing these investigations.
To help manage the caseload, Secretary Raffensperger asked Governor Brian Kemp to allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist. GBI will assist in investigating specific cases identified by the Office of the Secretary of State. GBI will task agents to conduct interviews and investigative acts regarding allegations of fraud as reported to the SOS’s Office. A core team of 8 agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations will be on hand to help clear the more than 250 cases still on file.
To further increase confidence in the outcome of the election, Secretary Raffensperger has announced an audit of signature match in Cobb County, following credible allegations that it was not conducted properly ahead of the June primaries. The GBI has dedicated thirty agents, three intel analysts, one case agent, two supervisors and one command staff to assist with the Cobb County signature audit as well.
The audit will consist of analyzing a statistically significant sample of absentee ballot envelope signatures and comparing those signatures to the signatures that Cobb County has on file.
Additionally, the Secretary of State’s Office has partnered with the University of Georgia to conduct a signature match review, a comprehensive look at signature match policies and procedures across Georgia’s 159 counties. The statewide signature match review will include a randomized signature match study of election materials handled at the county level in the November 3 Presidential contest.
In addition to repeatedly warning out of state voters of the penalties involved if they illegally register to vote or cast a vote in Georgia, the Secretary of State’s Office sent warning letters to 8,000 individuals who had requested an absentee ballots for the January 5 senate runoffs but had also filed a National Change of Address notice indicating they did not live in the state. The letters reminded these individuals that casting a ballot while a legal resident of another state is a felony that could be punished by jail time or hefty fines.
Georgia’s paper ballot system, selected in 2019, allowed Georgia to conduct a full hand re-tally of the presidential election several weeks ago, which reaffirmed the outcome as initially reported. Thousands of workers across the state recounted every ballot, one by one, reading and tallying the selections made by voters on their printed paper or hand-marked absentee ballots.
Secretary Raffensperger has repeatedly fought with outside organizations in court, and won, to maintain the integrity of Georgia’s voter rolls. He successfully fought liberal groups when they sought to add 200,000 people who have been lawfully and properly removed from Georgia’s voter rolls. He defended and strengthened Georgia’s signature matching process from allegations made by Democrat groups that it was unconstitutional. He successfully fought liberal groups who asked courts to order him to send postage-prepaid absentee ballots to all voters, bypassing Georgia’s absentee ballot application process. He successfully defended Georgia’s ban on ballot harvesting, which was one of the first things that Secretary Raffensperger insisted be put back in the election code. Perhaps most importantly, he successfully defended Georgia’s 7 p.m. Election Day absentee ballot return deadline against efforts to extend the deadline in violation of Georgia law.
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record turnout in 2020, with over 1.3 million absentee by mail voters and over 3.6 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.