A organization founded by failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, as well as several other groups, is being investigated by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for allegedly looking to “aggressively” register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” in the weeks leading up to the state’s Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections.
Raffensperger’s office said Wednesday that it is investigating America Votes, Vote Forward and The New Georgia Project, which was founded by Abrams and previously chaired by Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, Fox News reported.
“I have issued clear warnings several times to groups and individuals working to undermine the integrity of elections in Georgia through false and fraudulent registrations,” Raffensperger said in a statement on his website that is no longer available.
“The security of Georgia’s elections is of the utmost importance.”
The Republican secretary of state said his office “received specific evidence that these groups have solicited voter registrations from ineligible individuals who have passed away or live out of state.”
“I will investigate these claims thoroughly and take action against anyone attempting to undermine our elections,” Raffensperger said.
During a news conference on Monday, Raffensperger said that America Votes has been “sending absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994.”
Vote Forward tried to register a deceased Alabama voter, and The New Georgia Project sent voter registration applications to residents in New York City, according to Raffensperger.
Authorities are also looking into “Operation New Voter Registration Georgia, who is telling college students in Georgia that they can change their residency to Georgia and then change it back after the election,” Raffensperger said.
“Let me be very clear again, voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony, and encouraging college kids to commit felonies with no regard for what it might mean for them is despicable.”
The secretary of state’s office detailed several instances of The New Georgia Project allegedly soliciting registrations from people who live out of state or who are deceased, according to Fox News.
One Fulton County resident reported receiving five postcards from the group seeking to register “the same dead person,” and a Cherokee County resident said his spouse, who is ineligible to vote, received a registration solicitation.
A resident of New York City said she received a “package of postcards” from The New Georgia Project encouraging people to register to vote in the Georgia Senate runoffs, Fox reported.
“These third-party groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting. If they do so, they will be held responsible,” Raffensperger said.
According to Georgia Code, false registration is a felony and can be punished for up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
Georgia’s runoff elections will decide the balance of power in the incoming Senate.
The current balance of power is 50 Republicans and 46 Democrats (as well as two independents who caucus with the Democrats). Democrats need to win both of the runoff elections to make it 50-50 tie, in which case presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, should she and Joe Biden win the presidential election.
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