The Phoenix Flyer

Georgia Secretary of State investigates voting groups as U.S. Senate runoffs near

By: - December 1, 2020 4:23 pm

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official. Credit: Stanley Dunlap/Georgia Recorder (Oct. 14, 2020).

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his office is investigating four organizations accused of sending election related mailers to people from other states. 

Monday’s investigation announcement comes as Raffensperger continues to defend the state’s voting system and as county election offices conduct another recount of a presidential election where Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by about 12,760 votes. 

With the highly-anticipated Georgia Senate runoffs on Jan. 5, Raffensperger said Monday they want to determine if third party groups are mistakenly sending mailers to the wrong people or if something more nefarious is occurring. 

The investigations include claims that America Votes sent absentee ballot applications to someone at an address they have not lived at since 1994; that Vote Forward attempted to register a dead woman from Alabama; and that the Stacey Abrams-founded New Georgia Project tried to register voters living in New York City.

Another group, known as Operation New Voter Registration Georgia, is accused by Raffensperger of telling college students from other states to register in Georgia and then change back their address after the runoffs.

The state’s top election official and Attorney General Chris Carr have warned organizations and others against encouraging people to temporarily move to Georgia for the sole purpose of voting in the runoffs.

“This office will continue to take these steps to protect the rights of the legally registered Georgians of this state,” Raffensperger said. 

The New Georgia Project says, however, that Raffensperger is making false claims in an attempt to stop legitimate efforts to register voters.

“As Georgians are turning out in record numbers to have their voices heard at the polls, the Secretary of State is resorting to desperate attempts to smear law-abiding organizations and scare eligible Georgians from registering to vote in critical upcoming elections,” said Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project. “We will not be deterred.”

America Votes said it uses a list of registered voters from the secretary of state to send its mailings. 

“We’re pleased that so many Georgians have already applied to vote by mail this election and will continue our work to make sure every voice is heard in January,” spokesman Sahil Mehrotra said.

By Monday afternoon, Georgians had requested more than 947,000 absentee ballots for the high-stakes runoffs pitting Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican Sen. David Perdue versus Democrat Jon Ossoff. 

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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap is a reporter at the Georgia Recorder, part of the nonprofit States Newsroom that includes the Florida Phoenix. Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis.

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