Georgia Secretary of State Refers 3 Counties for Investigation for Violating Absentee Ballot Regulations

In this Feb. 26, 2019 file photo, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger answers questions after the Georgia House passed a bill to buy a new election system that includes a paper ballot. Georgia is shifting its presidential primary to late March, leaving the group of states that vote on …
Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has referred three counties for investigation for violating absentee ballot regulations, he announced Wednesday.

Raffensperger referred Coffee, Grady, and Taylor counties for investigation after the three Peach State counties “failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms in violation of Georgia Rules and Regulations,” per a release of the announcement.

Absentee ballot drop boxes were permitted last year via an emergency rule, stemming from adjustments prompted by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

“The emergency rule required counties with drop boxes to fill out ballot transfer forms that included the date, time, location, and number of ballots in the drop boxes whenever election officials collected ballots from the drop box,” the release explained, noting 123 counties utilized such absentee ballot drop boxes for the November election. Of those, 120 followed the rules, filling out and retaining the transfer forms. Coffee, Grady, and Taylor, however, failed to do so.

“Since day one, I have made securing Georgia’s election a top priority and I have not stopped working since then,” Raffensperger said in a statement, noting that the “overwhelming majority of counties did what they were supposed to.”

“This demonstrates that new steps need to be taken to fully secure our elections. Securing elections is work that is never truly finished,” he added.

According to the release, the three counties account for less than half a percent of the absentee ballots cast in the November election.

Raffensperger has remained a polarizing figure since the November election as he denied the existence of “systematic fraud” occurring in his state, which ultimately fell in Joe Biden’s column by a razor-thin margin — 49.5 percent to former President Trump’s 49.2 percent.

“We’ve never found systemic fraud, not enough to overturn the election,” he said during a December appearance on ABC’s This Week.

“We have over 250 cases right now. We reached out to the governor and asked for additional manpower resources that gives us additional reach to finish up these investigations quickly, but right now, we don’t see anything that would overturn the will of the people here, Georgia,” the secretary of state continued.

“I’m a Republican. I vote for Republicans. So I wish them well. The job of the Republican Party is to raise money and turn out the vote. My job as secretary of state is to make sure we have honest and fair elections,” he added. “It’s as simple as that, and integrity matters.”

Raffensperger has since emerged as a fierce defender of the state’s recently signed election integrity law, which Democrats have falsely characterized as suppressive, deeming their narratives “lazy, biased, and political as they are demonstrably wrong.”

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