A task force of law enforcement and elections officials will investigate claims of voter fraud in the May 19 election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news conference Monday.
Voters will cast ballots for the presidential primary and for various local, state and federal elections and primaries on May 19. The presidential primary was originally scheduled for March 24 but was postponed earlier this month due to COVID-19.
The task force will work with Secretary of State Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-certified investigators, typically law enforcement officers, to examine any signature mismatch on ballots. The task force will also interview voters with multiple votes from the same address and inspect non-residential addresses used for voter registration.
Raffensperger will ask the task force to draft a law making it a crime for someone to vote in a federal election in Georgia and another state at the same time. The purpose of the task force is to ensure that the right to vote and to be counted equally is secure, Raffensperger said.
“The absentee ballot fraud task force is created to ensure that even as the way we vote may fluctuate, the power of that vote does not,” Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger said on March 24 he would mail absentee ballot request forms to all 6.9 million active Georgia voters to prioritize public health. But he said this presents the possibility of election fraud when voters receive their actual ballots in May.
Absentee ballots are more vulnerable to fraud because they are completed without the presence of poll workers, Raffensperger said. He noted that mailed ballots usually don’t require photo identification, which the state requires for in-person voting.
Election fraud is rare in Georgia, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Additionally, Georgia law only allows voters, their family members, or other cohabitating people to mail absentee ballots on behalf of the voter.
During the news conference, Raffensperger emphasized the importance of keeping Georgia voter rolls “the cleanest in the nation,” saying “actions that delegitimize the integrity of the vote in Georgia will not be tolerated.”