Pushing For Transparency in Georgia Election Administration

Despite a strong open records law, Georgia’s secretary of state tried to stonewall our requests for records related to voting rights and election administration. We’re still investigating the state’s administration of elections, as well as the work of its voter fraud task force.
Lawsuit filed Oct. 14, 2020

On Oct. 14, American Oversight sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials for records related to election operations, including communications with national Republican groups and records concerning Georgia’s Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force.

American Oversight’s State Accountability Project is pushing for public records transparency in Georgia, including with regard to ballot access and election administration. The state has a strong transparency law in the Georgia Open Records Act, which declares in its preamble that “open government is essential to a free, open, and democratic society” and “there is a strong presumption that public records should be made available for public inspection without delay.”  

But even the best laws are only effective with enforcement — and American Oversight had to fight to get Georgia to enforce its own statute. On Oct. 14, 2020, we sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, represented by Caplan Cobb LLC, after his office failed to produce records in response to 58 of the 61 records requests we had submitted to his office over the previous 19 months.

Raffensperger’s office turned over thousands of pages of records on Oct. 23, just days before a Georgia judge had scheduled a hearing in our lawsuit. The trove of documents showed that a newly created “Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force” had not found any widespread voter fraud to investigate, and included previously unreported communications with political parties and proponents of voting restrictions. 

Although Raffensperger’s office initially stonewalled document requests from American Oversight and other many other public interest groups, email correspondence released in the cache showed the office had been far quicker to respond to a records request from the Republican National Committee. The messages revealed that Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs worked to rapidly fulfill RNC requests for records about absentee ballots and polling location information.

The speed with which the Raffensperger’s office turned over documents after we sued suggested that the agency could always comply with the law, yet was choosing how and when to do its job. Fuchs later thanked American Oversight for suing over our many unfulfilled records requests, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “If we made an error, we are happy to correct it and do so quickly.”

But it shouldn’t take either the threat or the actual filing of litigation to force Georgia’s government to enforce its own laws — and American Oversight will continue our efforts to hold Georgia’s government accountable to the public it serves. 

Related Documents

October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Records from Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Record
October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Records of Kemp’s Emails During the 2018 Midterm Elections

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Record
October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Communications Regarding ERIC

Georgia Secretary of State
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October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Records Regarding Voter Registration Deadlines

Georgia Secretary of State
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October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Records of Communications with RNC, Trump Campaign

Georgia Secretary of State
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October 23, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Records in Response to Request for Records About Raffensperger’s Decision to Postpone Primary Election

Georgia Secretary of State
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October 22, 2020

ORR to Georgia Secretary of State for Overseas and Military Ballot Request Requirements

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 22, 2020

Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Overseas and Military Ballot Request Requirements

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 14, 2020

Complaint and Motion: American Oversight v. Georgia Secretary of State — Records Related to Elections

Georgia Secretary of State
Litigation
October 8, 2020

Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Communications with Heritage Foundation and DHS

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September 22, 2020

Records Request Georgia SOS for Communications to Georgia Counties Regarding Language Assistance

Georgia Secretary of State
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September 21, 2020

No Records Response from Ga. Secretary of State Regarding Communications About Election Administration Bill

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September 16, 2020

Records Request to Georgia Board of Elections for Communications Regarding Election Administration Bill

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FOIA Request
September 16, 2020

FOIA to Georgia Secretary of State for Communications with West Virginia Officials

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
September 16, 2020

FOIA to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications for Election Official Gabriel Sterling

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
August 21, 2020

FOIA to Multiple Agencies Seeking Records and Data Regarding Georgia Polling Places

Georgia - Sumter County, Georgia Secretary of State
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August 7, 2020

Ga. Secretary of State Records Regarding Communications with ALEC

Georgia Secretary of State
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July 30, 2020

Ga. Secretary of State Communications Regarding the Restoration of Voter Registrations

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Record
July 30, 2020

No Records Response from Georgia SOS Regarding Communications and Directives about the Georgia Cyber Center at Augusta University

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
July 30, 2020

No Records Response from Ga. Secretary of State for Litigation Costs Related to a Redistricting Case

Georgia Secretary of State
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July 30, 2020

No Records Response from Ga. Secretary of State for Spending Records on a Redistricting Case

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
July 27, 2020

Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Records of Spending in Defending Redistricting Case

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
July 27, 2020

Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Records of Spending in Defending Redistricting Case

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
July 22, 2020

Request to the Ga. Secretary of State Seeking Records Regarding CARES Act Funding for Elections

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
July 20, 2020

Open Records Request to Open Records Request to Ga. Secretary of State for Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force Records

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
July 20, 2020

Open Records Request to Ga. Secretary of State for Communications About Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
July 2, 2020

Public Records Request to GA Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Anti-Voting Groups

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 30, 2020

Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Communications Regarding the Supreme Court

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 11, 2020

Public Records Request to GA Secretary of State Seeking Communications with National Republican Groups

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 11, 2020

Open Records Request to the Ga. Secretary of State Seeking Sent Communications in Early June 2020

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 11, 2020

Open Records Request to the Ga. Secretary of State Seeking Directives Regarding 2020 Primary Election

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 11, 2020

Open Records Request to the Ga. Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Voting Machine Vendors KnowInk and Dominion Voting

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 11, 2020

Open Records Request Ga. Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Specific External Groups

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 10, 2020

Records Request to Ga. Secretary of State Regarding Election Officials’ Calendars

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
June 8, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Covid-19 Impact Survey Forms

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 20, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Records Regarding Detained Voters

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 19, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State for Records About a Special-Called State Election Board Meeting

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 1, 2020

ORR to Georgia SOS for Communications with the USPS Regarding Misprinted Ballot Return Addresses

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 1, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia SOS for Additional Voting Machine Contracts

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 1, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia SOS for Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force Communications

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 24, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State for Records Regarding Election Signature Matching

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 23, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State for Communications Regarding Vote by Mail Considerations Due to COVID-19

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 17, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State Regarding the Requirement for Voters to Pay for Postage on Absentee Ballots

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
April 16, 2020

Open Records Request to Multiple Georgia Entities Regarding Voting Discrimination Settlements

Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 14, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State Regarding the Sec. Ratffensperger’s Decision to Postpone an April 2020 Election

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
April 14, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Directives Related to Georgia Voters Paying Postage for Mail Ballots

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 30, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State Regarding an Education Initiative for a New Paper-Ballot System

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
March 26, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State for Communications Regarding 2018 Allegations of Election Hacking

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 24, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Secretary of State for Records Concerning Public Voting Demonstrations

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 12, 2020

ORR to the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State for Communications Regarding ERIC

FOIA Request
March 2, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State for Communications with Augusta University

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 28, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Office of the Secretary of State Regarding Increased Accessibility Measures for Voters

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 18, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State Regarding Communications with Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
February 18, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State for Communications with Representatives of Tendon Systems, LLC

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
February 14, 2020

NRR from Georgia Secretary of State Regarding Emails about Voter Identification for Transgender or Gender Nonconforming Voters

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
February 13, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State for Communications with Trump Organization Representatives

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 13, 2020

ORR to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office for Communications with the Construction Company Tendon Systems

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 11, 2020

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Secretary of State Regarding Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming Voters

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 7, 2020

ORR to GA SOS Seeking Alleged Election Complaints

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
February 5, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Regarding Directives for Voter Language Assistance

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
February 5, 2020

No Records Response from Secretary of State Regarding Communications with Former Elections Consultant Mike Malone

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
February 5, 2020

No Records Response from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Regarding Directives for Voter Language Assistance

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
January 31, 2020

ORR to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office for Communications Regarding Restoring Voter Registrations

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
January 31, 2020

ORR to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office for Communications Regarding Voter Registration Cancellations

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
January 31, 2020

ORR to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office for Records Reflecting Directives for Voter Language Assistance

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
January 31, 2020

ORR to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office for Communications Between Former Consultant Mike Malone and Specific Officials

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
January 13, 2020

Open Records Request to the Georgia Secretary of State Regarding Voter Registration Deadlines

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
November 13, 2019

ORR to Georgia Secretary of State Regarding 2019 Voter Purge

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 29, 2019

Georgia Secretary of State Records Regarding DefCon Hacking Competition During 2019


Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Record
October 23, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Secretary of State for Records Regarding Election Insecurity in Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 23, 2019

No Records Response from Georgia’s Secretary of State Regarding Communications Concerning Redistricting

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
October 22, 2019

No Records Response from Georgia’s Secretary of State Regarding Communications with Dominion Voting Systems

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
October 21, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Secretary of State Seeking Communications Concerning Redistricting

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 17, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia’s Governor’s Office for Communications with Dominion Voting Systems

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
October 15, 2019

ORR to Georgia Secretary of State’s office Seeking Communications Regarding the 2018 Elections Server

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
September 27, 2019

No Records Response from GA SOS Regarding Election Systems & Software Contractors

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
September 27, 2019

No Records Response from GA’s SOS Regarding Communications between Director of the Center for Elections Systems and Elections System Contractors

Georgia Secretary of State
Agency Reply
September 10, 2019

ORR to GA SOS Seeking Communications between Secretary Raffensperger and Dominion Voting Systems Lobbyists

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
August 26, 2019

State Records Request to GA Governor’s Office Seeking Communications Relating to the End of the “Exact Match” Policy

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
August 26, 2019

State Records Request to GA SOS Seeking Communications Relating to the Inception of “Exact Match”

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
August 16, 2019

ORR to GA Secretary of State’s Office Seeking Brian Kemp’s Emails During the 2018 Midterm Elections

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
May 1, 2019

Public Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Tarrant County

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with ALEC

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request
March 29, 2019

Open Records Request to Georgia Secretary of State Seeking Communications with Voter Fraud Activists

Georgia Secretary of State
FOIA Request