Georgia’s caput of authorities is moving guardant with a survey of the effectiveness of the signature verification process that the authorities utilized for absentee ballots until it was replaced by caller recognition requirements this year.
In the weeks aft the November election, then-President Donald Trump and his allies claimed without grounds that the predetermination was stolen from him. He fixated connected respective states, including Georgia, wherever helium mislaid by less than 12,000 votes. Among different things, helium demanded an audit of signature matches utilized to corroborate the individuality of a elector casting an absentee ballot.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger successful December announced an audit of the signatures connected absentee ballots successful Cobb County, conscionable extracurricular Atlanta. He besides said astatine the clip that his bureau was moving with a assemblage connected a statewide signature lucifer study. Investigators recovered “no fraudulent absentee ballots” during the Cobb County audit.
Trey Hood, a University of Georgia governmental subject professor, has been hired by the caput of state’s bureau to bash the study, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A random illustration of 5,000 absentee ballot envelopes from crossed the authorities for past year’s wide predetermination volition beryllium examined by students trained to verify them utilizing the aforesaid methods that were utilized by predetermination officials, Hood told the newspaper.
“It’s not an audit. I don’t privation anyone to get that thought successful mind,” Hood said. “We’re not relitigating the 2020 election.”
Under the process successful spot until this year, Georgians who submitted an absentee ballot had to motion an oath connected an outer envelope. When region predetermination officials received an absentee ballot, they had to comparison the signature to the signature connected file.
If the signature wasn’t consistent, the elector would beryllium notified and could instrumentality different steps to verify identity. If the signature did match, the ballot was separated from the envelope to support the close to ballot secrecy guaranteed by Georgia law.
But a sweeping caller predetermination instrumentality passed this twelvemonth did distant with the signature matching process, alternatively implementing a photograph recognition request for absentee ballots.
The survey volition analyse the signature verification process utilized successful November’s election. Hood says helium hopes to decorativeness the survey this semester, but it has been slowed by a request to question tribunal orders to entree immoderate of the absentee ballot envelopes.
Under Georgia law, predetermination materials are kept nether seal by tribunal clerks “unless different ordered by the superior court. Some counties released absentee ballot envelopes for the survey nether a portion of the caller predetermination instrumentality that allows the caput of authorities to inspect them wrong 24 months of an election, The Journal-Constitution reported.
But Raffensperger’s bureau confirmed this week that it is seeking tribunal orders to summation entree to absentee ballot envelopes successful astatine slightest 17 counties.