Per week after President Trump advised that voters in North Carolina ought to solid two ballots — one by mail and one other on the polls — the authorities in Georgia are threatening felony motion in opposition to 1,000 Georgia voters who did simply that.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, introduced at a information convention on Tuesday that investigations had been underway in 100 of the state’s 159 counties after the invention of 1,000 situations of double voting within the state’s June main and August runoff elections.
“We’ll prosecute,” mentioned Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, noting that double voting in Georgia, thought of a severe felony, carries a penalty of 1 to 10 years in jail and a tremendous of as much as $100,000. Whereas calling consideration to the double votes may add gasoline to Mr. Trump’s unfounded declare that mail voting opens the door to fraud, Mr. Raffensperger famous that double voting hadn’t modified the end result of any races.
The situation Mr. Raffensperger described gave the impression to be an identical to the one suggested by Mr. Trump final Wednesday, when he advised reporters in Wilmington, N.C., that voters ought to take a look at the integrity of the state’s election system by voting by mail after which subsequently showing on the polls in individual.
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the nation’s voting system by claiming it’s insecure and riddled with fraud — contentions that experts reject — endorsed Mr. Raffensperger within the 2018 election for Georgia secretary of state. There may be little proof supporting the president’s competition that mail-in voting is susceptible to voter fraud — in actual fact, numerous research have concluded that in america, all forms of voter fraud are rare. Elections officers nationwide have mentioned that Mr. Trump’s encouragement to voters to test the integrity of the system by voting twice created confusion in an already traumatic election yr. It was the latest of many statements he has made suggesting that the integrity of the nation’s elections is threatened by voter fraud, accelerated by mail voting through the pandemic.
One group, Frequent Trigger Georgia, expressed concern about Mr. Raffensperger’s announcement. The group issued a press release accusing him of fanning fears about election integrity by “searching for causes to solid doubt on Georgia’s mail-in poll system.”
“We wholeheartedly agree that individuals who deliberately vote twice ought to be topic to the same old felony penalties for election regulation violations,” mentioned the assertion by Aunna Dennis, the group’s government director. “However we’re involved that voters who had been merely making an attempt to vote might get caught up within the dragnet.”
It was not clear how most of the 1,000 situations of double voting underneath investigation in Georgia concerned intentional efforts to vote twice, or whether or not these circumstances concerned individuals who, not sure of whether or not their absentee poll had been counted, voted once more.
Mr. Raffensperger mentioned that was a part of the continued investigation, however added that proving “intentionality” isn’t required underneath the state regulation.
“On the finish of the day, the voter was accountable and the voters know what they had been doing,” Mr. Raffensperger mentioned. “A double voter is aware of precisely what they had been doing, diluting the votes of each voter that follows the regulation.”
Mr. Raffensperger mentioned he knew of 1 voter, in rural Lengthy County, Ga., who had been “bragging” about having voted twice. The Atlanta Journal-Structure had reported multiple irregularities there.
Elections officers in Georgia and elsewhere say there are techniques in place to stop a second vote, with votes instantly recorded in ballot books and voters flagged if they’ve already solid a poll.
Mr. Raffensperger mentioned that, regardless of safeguards, 1,000 voters slipped by means of the cracks in an election that was plagued by a scarcity of ballot staff, lengthy traces and issues with adjusting to new machines.
Mr. Raffensperger insisted Tuesday that the “system labored.” He didn’t clarify precisely how the double voters managed to slide by means of however blamed “the human factor” and mentioned he would work to enhance coaching of ballot staff.
Mr. Raffensperger can also be fighting efforts by public curiosity organizations to increase the deadline for supply of mail ballots to county elections officers, saying an extension would make it unimaginable to certify the election by the Nov. 20 deadline.