Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger garnered national attention last week when he announced his state was investigating as many as 1,000 people for illegally voting in this year’s primary.
The news was met by the establishment media with a combination of raised eyebrows and open derision, with some claiming Raffensperger was only trying to bolster the Trump administration’s concerns about voter fraud this November.
At least in that situation, those who believed Raffensperger was politically posturing could point to the fact that he presented no evidence and no referrals to the attorney general. However, these cases take time — as proven on Friday, when 98 cases of voter fraud going as far back as 2014 were referred for prosecution.
In a news release, the State Election Board announced the referrals, which included double-voting and individuals “submitting absentee ballots on behalf of children or the deceased.”
“On September 10, 2020, the Georgia’s State Election Board met to discuss 98 outstanding investigations conducted by the Secretary of State’s office dating as far back as 2014 but extending through 2020,” the news release read.
“Three new rules, including one lowering sensitivity thresholds for absentee ballot scanners, were passed by the State Election Board as well.
“Several of the investigations involved potential acts of voter fraud and were referred to the Attorney General’s office for further adjudication.
“According to investigators, in two cases, one in Putnam County and one in Murray County, individuals allegedly voted twice in the November 2016 general elections. In both cases, the voters knowingly took advantage of glitches or poll worker errors to cast a second ballot in the election. Both cases have been referred to the Attorney General’s office by the State Election Board.”
“Protecting the integrity of the vote is my highest priority as Georgia’s chief elections official,” Raffensperger said in the statement.
“A fraudulent vote dilutes the power of those voters who follow the rules and undermines the fundamental democratic idea of one person, one vote. As Secretary of State, I will investigate any and all attempts to delegitimize elections in Georgia.”
According to WXIA-TV, it’s unclear whether any of these cases involve the up to 1,000 people suspected of voting fraudulently in the primary, although the fact the news release mentioned that the referrals involved cases as late as 2020 certainly pointed in that direction.
One of the voter fraud allegations outlined in the news release beggars belief.
“In Twiggs County, during the May 2016 statewide general primary elections, one individual allegedly registered her two children, both of whom were felons, to vote; requested absentee ballots on their behalf; then filled out and submitted those absentee ballots herself, including fraudulently signing the oath averring that she was the person identified on the ballot,” the news release said.
“This case has been referred to the Attorney General’s office by the State Election Board.”
Considering how quickly this came after the secretary of state’s Tuesday announcement that Georgians were under investigation for double-voting in the state’s June primary, the implications were clear.
“A double-voter knows exactly what they’re doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said at a news conference then, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it.”
Raffensperger said the individuals double-voted by sending in a mail-in ballot and then casting a vote in person. Voters can cancel their absentee ballots if they haven’t been received by elected officials and then vote in person, but it’s unclear whether these voters tried to do that.
In Georgia, double-voting can land you behind bars for one to 10 years and incur fines of up to $100,000.
The Journal-Constitution reported there may have been some confusion on primary day over who had canceled their ballot and who hadn’t. The mechanisms for updating voter information broke down, particularly on canceling the absentee ballots at the voter’s request. However, at least one individual reportedly said he double-voted “to prove a point.”
“It’s not set up right,” Hamilton Evans said. “If I did it, how many other people did it?”
The problem is that Evans voted in Long County, where a probate judge who lost by nine votes is seeking a new election, in part because of allegations of voter fraud and double-voting. It’s unclear whether his ballot would have made a difference, but that’s quite the admission to be making.
It’s worth noting, however, that Raffensperger said none of the double-voters would have affected any of the races.
You can say this is small-scale stuff — and to a certain extent, it is. However, if this is what’s happening during the primary process, imagine what happens during the general election.
While Georgia is generally seen as favorable-ish for President Donald Trump, it still could be a swing state, with the RealClearPolitics polling average showing the president with a 1.3-point lead.
Either way, voter interest will dwarf the June 9 primary election.
If the state can’t handle primaries, the likelihood of voter fraud and voter issues in the general election is overwhelming. And yet, when Raffensperger made his announcement Tuesday, the state Democratic Party head said the state attorney general was carrying water for conspiracy theorists.
“It is clear that rather than do his job of promoting the safety and security of our voting process, the secretary of state is instead pushing the GOP’s voting conspiracy theories and disinformation,” Democratic Party of Georgia Executive Director Scott Hogan said.
Those are words that could very well come back to haunt him.
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