Georgia officials have launched investigations into several third-party registration groups, including one founded by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, for “repeatedly and aggressively” seeking to register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” ahead of the state’s Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections.
What are the details?
In a news release Wednesday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that the New Georgia Project, founded by Abrams in 2014, as well as two other organizations — America Votes and Vote Forward — are subjects in the investigations.
Raffensperger stated that his office had “issued clear warnings several times” to such groups against encouraging illegal action, but nonetheless has “received specific evidence that these groups have solicited voter registrations from ineligible individuals who have passed away or live out of state.”
Evidently, some of that evidence arrived directly on Raffensperger’s doorstep. The secretary of state announced in a news conference Wednesday that his family had received mailers directed to his deceased son, urging him to register to vote.
“Here’s something that came to my house yesterday, we got three of them, all from the same organization and it’s to my son Brenton J. Raffensperger who passed away two years ago,” he said holding up the mailers.
But that wasn’t the only evidence of get-out-the-vote groups encouraging illegal behavior in the state, according to Raffensperger.
“We’ve had additional information coming in regarding the tactics from these groups including the New Georgia Project sending five voter registrations to the same dead person, and sending applications to ineligible voters,” he added.
Raffensperger said that over the past several weeks complaints have been flooding into his office about the New Georgia Project sending voter registration information to out-of-state residents, including a “package of postcards” to an individual living in New York City.
According to the news release, another group, Operation New Voter Registration GA, urged Emory University students to illegally register to vote in the runoffs.
“Your current residence can be another state. You are simply changing your state of residence now; and it can be switched back for future elections (your option),” said a flier sent by the group to students.
In Georgia, false registration is considered a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In a statement, Raffensperger vowed, “I will investigate these claims thoroughly and take action against anyone attempting to undermine our elections.”
The Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 will feature face-offs between Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively. The elections have attracted a great deal of national attention as the Senate majority hangs in the balance.