On Sept. 8, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that 1,000 voters were potentially facing investigation for alleged “double voting,” submitting their ballots both in person and through the mail. This claim was repeated in reports by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the New York Times. But new documents obtained by American Oversight reveal that in private, the secretary of state’s office admitted that “systematic checks stop double voting from happening, and those checks appear to be largely working as intended.”
In an email to members of the Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force that same day, Ryan Germany, general counsel to the secretary of state, gave a much milder version of events than Raffensperger did publicly. Germany said that only one of those alleged incidents was a confirmed intentional double-voting case, and explained that although one individual tried to vote twice to see if it were possible, “other people likely voted twice inadvertently or because they were not sure if their absentee ballot had been returned in time by the mail service,” contradicting Raffensperger’s claims that “a double voter knows exactly what they are doing.”
This is the second example of Georgia officials’ public statements about voter fraud failing to match internal communications. Earlier this month, American Oversight received documents in response to our request for records concerning the state’s voter fraud task force that include a cover letter from Glynn County Elections Supervisor Chris Channell, a member of the task force. In the letter, Channell said that he had “sent an email to a few supervisors to see if they had any concerns on Absentee Voter Fraud,” and that “None indicated there was any concern of absentee ballot voter fraud.” In fact, Channell wrote, “There is NOT a wide spread case of Voter Fraud happening.”
Channel elaborated: “Signature mismatch is probably the biggest concern for local election officials. Signatures change over time. We [tried] matching a signature from a voter today to Voter registration cards from the 60s and 70s.” Those statements are in marked contrast to Raffensperger’s claims concerning the prevalence of voter fraud in Georgia.
According to Channell’s letter, Georgia’s task force has only met once — on May 21 — since its formation (to date, American Oversight has received an agenda for that meeting only). The Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force is one of a number of groups that have cropped up in states across the country, ostensibly to ensure election integrity, but which rarely provide pro-voter resources. Instead, voter fraud task forces typically appear to elevate cases of alleged voter fraud to bolster unsupported claims that the issue is widespread.
The infrequency of Georgia’s task force meetings, combined with Channell’s assertions and communications indicating that the task force was not involved in Raffensperger’s claims about double voting, provide further evidence that the recent surge in the number of these groups has been driven by politics rather than need. American Oversight is investigating voter fraud task forces in Georgia and other states to provide transparency about their motives and actions.
Part of Investigation: