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Raffensperger Claims Georgia’s Voter Rolls Are ‘Cleanest’ In The Country. Here’s Why That’s Bunk

Raffensperger’s office claims to be doing everything federal law will let them — but why haven’t they investigated spurious votes from 2020?

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At a Georgia Senate Ethics Committee hearing last week about the status of Georgia’s voter rolls, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s chief operating officer, Gabriel Sterling, claimed “Georgia is No. 1 in America with the cleanest [voter] list in the United States for the amount of list maintenance that we do.”

I was present at the hearing to testify about problems I’ve uncovered in Georgia’s voter rolls. The thousands of potentially invalid votes I’ve found cast by Georgians with suspect residency — and Raffensperger’s subsequent disinterest in investigating those votes — gives me plenty of reasons to doubt Sterling’s claim.

“We just got back from the National Association of Secretaries of State Conference, and one thing rings pretty clearly: there are two states that are basically looked at for the best practices in list maintenance, and they are Georgia and Michigan,” Sterling told the committee, without offering evidence to back up his claims. “Georgia is No. 1 in America with the cleanest list in the United States for the amount of list maintenance that we do. It is absolutely 100 percent a fact, you want a fact and that is it.”  

Maria Benson, the communications director for the National Association of Secretaries of State, wouldn’t answer what evidence Sterling had for his boast, telling me instead that “While our members discuss and share information about state election administration policies and procedures at our conferences, NASS does not rank the effectiveness of those policies and procedures.”

Raffensperger’s Team Blames the ‘Constraints of the Law’ for Lackluster List Maintenance

In 2021, using data from the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, I gave nearly 35,000 voter records to the secretary of state for an investigation into votes cast in the 2020 general election by Georgians whose residency records called their eligibility to vote into question. Raffensperger’s office had already agreed to open the investigation, but now three years later, nothing appears to have been done about it. They have cited the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) as an excuse for not doing much about residency concerns I and others have pointed out, claiming their hands are effectively tied.

Sterling made a similar excuse in last week’s hearing, claiming “our biggest problems are these federal laws that get in the way of us doing really good list maintenance.” While Sterling is absolutely right to criticize the NVRA, it doesn’t leave his office off the hook.

Sterling then tried to downplay my testimony about people on Georgia’s voter rolls whose residency records don’t match their voter registration. “Now some of the stuff that you may hear later on today is going to be focusing on data matching of potential people who aren’t in the right place, and there’s going to be some of them that are absolutely not in the right place,” he conceded. “But when you do loose data matching you get a lot of false positives and when you get a lot of false positives and then move on them inside the NVRA environment, that’s when you get sued, and that’s when you have real problems in list maintenance.”

“We do better than anybody else given the constraints of the law,” he claimed.

But is our secretary of state really doing everything he can “within the constraints of the law”?

Why Hasn’t Raffensperger Investigated Thousands of Suspect Votes from 2020 Yet?

Raffensperger’s office agreed in May 2021 to open an investigation into nearly 35,000 votes cast with likely residency issues, but then apparently chose to not actually conduct it, even though NCOA data suggests there were thousands of unlawful ballots cast in the 2020 general election. In a subsequent analysis, I found roughly 25,000 more potential violations that occurred in the 2022 general election, and I can state with virtual certainty we will see thousands more of those same issues in the 2024 general election unless action is taken to prevent them. 

When a voter tells the USPS they are moving permanently to a new state, county, or municipality, and then does in fact move there well before the election, but then later returns to their old county to vote physically or by absentee, and lies about still living in that jurisdiction, that’s obviously a problem. Aside from any violations of our residency laws, lying about our residency in order to fraudulently obtain and then cast a ballot is a violation of the Prohibited Acts section of the Voting Rights Act, and on the state level a felony violation of Georgia Code § 21-2-562 and/or Georgia Code § 21-2-271. But thus far the secretary of state’s office has apparently refused to conduct a legitimate investigation into those potential violations. 

Even when voters admitted on the evening news they had moved, and the evidence showed they had voted in their previous counties, Sterling himself dismissed the issue and excused that conduct

In addition to my testimony at last week’s hearing, election lawyer Brad Carver testified to list maintenance issues in a few of Georgia’s large counties, noting that “in Fulton County in the 2020 election, there was 1,077,000 residents, [and] 861,000 registered voters. That is, 79.9 percent of every man, woman, and child in Fulton County was registered to vote. That number has been reduced significantly, but you know that number is mathematically impossible.”

Both Carver and Fulton County election integrity advocate Jason Frazier also pointed out that roughly 111 percent of the voting age population is registered to vote in Fulton County, and there are 56 Georgia counties with greater than 100 percent of the voting age population registered to vote.

Frazier highlighted voters improperly registered at commercial mail receiving agencies such as UPS stores, other commercial addresses, missing addresses, or “imaginary houses.” He also found dead people on the rolls and unusually large numbers of voters registered at single family residences.

The votes with questionable residency that I brought to the secretary of state’s attention years ago were what the Trump team raised in their infamous phone call with Raffensperger, and it appears the last thing Raffensperger wants to do is admit that the former president and his legal team had legitimate concerns about thousands of unlawful votes cast in that election — much less conduct a legitimate investigation that could prove it. 

I will readily admit that investigating nearly 35,000 cases seems like a monumental task, and I am not advocating that we file felony charges against thousands of Georgia voters. But why not investigate even a random sample, and then at least have the integrity to admit this is a major issue, and become part of the solution instead of being so determined to remain part of the problem? If the secretary of state continues to make excuses, the 2024 election will be plagued by similar gaps in election integrity.


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