(ATLANTA) – Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the State Election Board sent another batch Wednesday of alleged voting violations to prosecutors after hearing what investigators discovered.
“We will continue to root out voting fraud and make sure anyone guilty of it faces prosecution,” Raffensperger said. “Fortunately, these individual cases aren’t large enough to change the outcome of a statewide election. Their prosecution is an example to others who may contemplate skirting the rules that protect election integrity in Georgia.”
In Wednesday’s daylong meeting of the State Election Board, the five-member panel heard investigative findings in 63 cases. The board voted to refer 24 to the attorney general for prosecution. One of the most highly publicized cases involves a Florida lawyer who allegedly appeared on a video telling a local Republican group to register to vote in Georgia using his brother’s Hiram address so they could participate in the January Senate runoff. The investigation showed he attempted to register online with that address but Paulding County officials did not accept his application because it lacked proof of residency.
The board also heard a report from an independent elections expert it had appointed to monitor Fulton County’s progress in complying with the board’s corrective-action plan. The monitor, Carter Jones, spent more than 250 hours onsite observing the county’s preparation and execution of the November general election and the January runoff.
He told the board he found multiple systemic managerial problems and procedural lapses despite marked progress in implementation the corrective-action plan. Yet, nothing he saw suggested widespread fraud.
“At no time did I ever observe any conduct by Fulton County election officials that involved dishonesty, fraud or intentional malfeasance,” he wrote in his official report. “During my weeks of monitoring, I witnessed neither ‘ballot stuffing’ nor ‘double-counting’ nor any other fraudulent conduct that would undermine the validity, fairness and accuracy of the results published and certified by Fulton County.”
The following were bound over to the attorney general’s office after the board concluded the investigations found probable cause of an election law violation:
· William P of Lynn Haven, Fla., for allegedly registering to vote while living out of state
· Marsha G, and the Peach County Board of Elections and Registration for various alleged procedural violations in handling absentee ballots in the May 2016 primary
· Yaritza G of Mesa, Ariz. and Brenda G of Townsend, Ga. for allegedly registering and voting in 2014 when not eligible, and Kierra H, and the Long County Board of Elections and Registration for allegedly failing to determine their eligibility
· Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration, Janine E, and Craig R for allegedly leaving electronic voting equipment in a car which was later stolen during preparation for the April 2017 special election
· Fulton County Board of Election and Registrations and Ralph J for allegedly failing to determine the eligibility of 138 voter-registration applicants, failing to offer a provisional ballot to a voter, failing to record a voter to the electors list after casting her ballot in 2017
· Paul M of Sparta for allegedly failing to disclose on his notice of candidacy that he was in default on city taxes in the 2017 municipal election
· Aretha H of Sparta for allegedly imposing illegal requirements for candidates in the 2017 municipal election
· Susan S of Bartow for allegedly making a false statement on a notice of candidacy in August 2017 when she said she was not in default on city taxes
· Chadrick C of LaGrange for allegedly making a false statement in a notice of candidacy in the 2017 municipal election
· Avanti H of Temple for allegedly filing a notice of candidacy as a convicted felon in the 2017 municipal election
· Robert D of Atlanta for allegedly campaigning within 150 feet of a polling place during the March 2017 special election
· The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at the University of North Georgia, Rajpal S, Wesley B and Charles B, all of Dahlonega, for alleged procedural violations while conducting a voter registration drive in 2017
· Anthony H of Covington for allegedly inserting a fraudulent address in two voter registration applications and for alleged solicitation to commit election fraud in the 2017 municipal election
· Jaquory S, Larry S, Casetra M, Arthur H, and Kabrea L, all of Covington, for allegedly using a fraudulent address to register to vote and then voting while not eligible in the 2017 Covington municipal election
· Travis W of Blakely for allegedly offering a drawing for a $25 gift card on Facebook for people who voted for him for city council in the 2017 primary
· Robert B of Americus for allegedly failing to seal voting equipment in 2017 and 2018 elections
· Dexter M of Conway, S.C. for allegedly voting in two states for the 2018 general election
· Karen A of Atlanta for allegedly offering prizes to residents of the Friendship Tower senior center for voting in the April 2019 Atlanta runoff
· Patricia B and Bonnie W, both of Preston, for allegedly failed to follow procedures for cancelling an absentee ballot in a June 2019 special election that wound up in a tie as a result
· Paul L of Ringgold for allegedly trying to buy votes by offering a free meal to any voter in the 2019 mayoral race
· Latresa A of Forest Park for allegedly campaigning too close to a polling place
· Lois W and Azelia J both of Forest Park, the City of Forest Park for various alleged violations of absentee ballot processing
· Lois W and Edwin M, both of Forest Park, for allegedly distributing campaign materials at a polling place during a November 2019 local election
· Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration and Gerald M for allegedly using an unsecure cardboard drop box for absentee ballots in the 2020 primary
· Jimmy K and the Milan City Council for allegedly failing to hold a special election to fill two vacant council seats in 2020
· Julianne R of Jasper and the Pickens County Board of Elections for allegedly failing to provide adequate access in a polling place as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act during the 2020 general election
· Milton K of Douglasville and members of the Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration for allegedly failing to upload one memory card recording 293 votes in the 2020 general election.
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record turnout in 2020, with over 1.3 million absentee by mail voters and over 3.6 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.