Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr are running for reelection, but all three have failed the people of Georgia when it comes to election integrity. These failures have attracted challengers in the May 24 Republican primary. Jody Hice was willing to give up a safe Republican seat in Congress to challenge Raffensperger for SOS with a campaign focused on secure elections. Similarly, David Perdue has made election integrity front and center in his challenge to Kemp as has John Gordon in his challenge to Carr.
Following are just some of the many failures that have been documented:
Investigative research by True the Vote (TTV), highlighted in Dinesh D’Souza’s recently released documentary “2000 Mules,” provides compelling evidence of widespread illegal ballot harvesting in and around Atlanta. This is only one of many alleged problems — many individuals and groups have provided evidence of irregularities in both the November 2020 general election and the January 2021 runoff election. Georgia election integrity group VoterGA references problems including but not limited to: sworn affidavits of counterfeit mail-in ballots, drop boxes with no chain of custody forms, missing ballot images in various counties, and voters registered at vacant addresses or P.O. Box addresses, “which is illegal”.
Despite the emerging evidence of irregularities in the November 2020 election, Kemp and Raffensperger certified the election and failed to take any significant action to improve security prior to the January 2021 runoff election that decided control of the U.S. Senate. Kemp refused to call the state legislature into a special session, denying legislators an opportunity to fix problems prior to the runoff. Not surprisingly, True the Vote research indicates that ballot trafficking occurred again in the runoff election.
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Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, and Gregg Phillips of OPSEC Group, which does investigations and analysis for True the Vote, report that Georgia officials and agencies did not respond as expected when they alerted them to what they have found. Engelbrecht “voiced her displeasure with the incumbent Republicans seeking reelection that are presiding over the upcoming midterm elections in Georgia, including Kemp, Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr. ‘They have publicly torched our data. They have done whatever they could to delegitimize our work,’ alleged Engelbrecht.”
“‘We presented our data a year ago to Governor Kemp (a Republican) and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They covered it up for seven months,’ alleged Engelbrecht in an April 30 television interview on Real America’s Voice.”
Phillips likewise says Governor Brian Kemp actively opposed True the Vote’s investigation of ballot trafficking. “They did everything they could to stop us.” Rather than responding to the TTV evidence with a proper investigation and prosecute offenders, the GBI (which reports to Kemp) publicly dismissed the evidence, and Kemp’s Chief of Staff told contractors they “will never get contracts with the state again if they continue to cooperate with TTV.”
After getting nowhere with Kemp and the GBI, True the Vote sent complaint letters to Raffensperger. “On November 30, 2021, two complaint letters were sent from TTV to SOS Raffensperger; one letter, an in-depth accounting of important details from the investigation, and details from [a] whistleblower interview. [On] January 5, 2022, Raffensberger (sic) says there is credible evidence and opens an investigation.” It remains to be seen whether this will be an effective investigation. Initial signs are not encouraging with slow progress and inappropriate subpoenas. After a delay of three and a half months, on April 21, 2022, the Georgia State Election Board issued four subpoenas. These subpoenas were to Engelbrecht, Phillips, True the Vote, and OPSEC, and they inappropriately request the identity of the whistleblower, who is a confidential informant, and his mother. In one of the gubernatorial debates, Kemp also said they wanted the name of the whistleblower. Yet, as Wendi Strauch Mahoney at UncoverDC notes, True the Vote has provided ample data for an investigation, such that “Kemp’s office and the State Board of Elections do not need the whistleblower’s name or any other individual to prove the veracity of the TTV/OPSEC data.” Rather than trying to unmask True the Vote’s sources, the State Election Board should issue subpoenas to unmask mules from the phone numbers, interview mules to try to determine who paid them, and prosecute those who were involved in ballot trafficking.
The Georgia Republican Party censured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for:
“[failing] to perform his duties in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the State of Georgia, and Republican Party values, including but not limited to:
- Entering into the Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release which changed Georgia’s absentee voting procedures outside the Constitutionally prescribed format set forth in Georgia law.
- Undermining the security of our elections by allowing mass mailings of absentee applications by his office and third parties which created opportunities for fraud and overwhelmed election offices; rendering accurate signature matching nearly impossible; allowing ballot drop boxes without proper chain of custody; and ignoring sworn affidavits and disregarding evidence of voter fraud[.]”
The censure resolution also criticizes AG Carr for working with Raffensperger against election transparency. In April 2021 Raffensperger and Carr filed an amicus brief supporting Fulton County election officials’ efforts to deny VoterGA access to paper ballots to perform a forensic audit.
Carr has also been criticized by primary challenger Gordon for authoring the “Consent Decree” that Raffensperger signed to settle a lawsuit with Stacey Abrams on March 6, 2020. Gordon claims that in doing this, Carr and Raffensperger “exceeded their legal authority. They changed election laws which is the sole authority of the legislature”. This Consent Decree is the Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release for which the Georgia Republican Party censored Raffensperger. It changed the signature verification procedures for absentee ballots, leading to a dramatic decrease in the percentage of ballots rejected for invalid signatures.
Reforms Still Needed
In the aftermath of the November 2020 election and the January 2021 runoff, the Georgia state legislature passed SB 202 (the Election Integrity Act of 2021) and Governor Kemp signed it into law. Among other changes, this law improved security for absentee ballots and drop boxes. However, further reforms are needed.
The Georgia Republican Party passed a resolution calling for
“The passage in its entirety of the FULL Georgia Republican Party’s Election Confidence Task Force legislative package, including, but not limited to
- Eliminate no-excuse absentee by-mail voting, allowing absentee ballots only for voters who have a specific reason.
- Replacing all Dominion voting systems with secure hand marked paper ballots which should be scanned and tabulated using a device that is not connected to the internet, and to do so with the passage of legislation for the governor to sign prior to the start of the candidate qualifying beginning March 7, 2022.”
The Dominion Voting System:
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- was rejected by Texas three times over security concerns
- can be accessed via Wi-Fi
- is not verifiable to the voter as required by law because it encodes the votes in a QR code.
“The U.S. District Court found on Oct 11th, 2020 the Dominion Voting System that was used in the November 2020 election is unverifiable to the voter and in violation of two Georgia statues.” “Raffensperger was warned about voting systems using unverifiable QR codes to accumulate votes when he was a runoff candidate in 2018. [He] did not heed the warnings and purchased the new Dominion system for over $100 million in 2019.” “The former chief of staff for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was one of eight registered lobbyists for Dominion Voting Systems.”
In addition, access to paper ballots for forensic audits should be guaranteed by law. “SB89, an election integrity bill that [would have] made ballots public records came within minutes of passage on Sine Die but Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan refused to give it a vote even though it would have passed with unanimous Republican majority support. VoterGA established that Duncan acted on behalf of his friend Gov. Brian Kemp.”
Georgia’s elections are still not secure. We need to replace the incumbents who have failed to provide secure elections and opposed efforts to investigate fraud and irregularities with their challengers who are committed to election integrity.
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