Call this a possible case of potentially “fake” voters.
A massive effort to register tens of thousands of minority voters could now end up with some people going on trial, accused of forging the names on the applications.
The state elections board, composed of both Republicans and Democrats, voted unanimously Wednesday to ask the state Attorney General to investigate 14 people suspected of trying to register fake voters.
The effort is part of a massive minority voter registration drive by the New Georgia Project, which was founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state representative who is now running for governor.
A three-year investigation has determined that, out of nearly 90,000 applications that the group collected during the drive, 53 were found to be possibly fraudulent.
But that’s 53 too many, says Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who chairs the state elections board and is also running for governor.
“The reason that this case was so serious on the front end is because we were getting complaints from voters that their signatures had been forged on those voter registration applications,” Kemp said. “We’re not going to tolerate fraud, but we’ll also work with people that want to do things the right way.”
“The secretary of state should be the last person to lecture others about following election laws," said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. "Just this summer, the Secretary of State’s Office violated state and federal law 160,000 times when he threatened to remove nearly 160,000 voters from the active voter rolls simply because they moved within the same county.
“Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on voter intimidation, the Secretary of State should focus on protecting the sacred, fundamental right to vote.”
Abrams, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, declined to comment.
The chair of the New Georgia Project (NGP), the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Atlanta, told 11Alive News that the election board's investigation cleared the organization itself, and verified that NGP's internal controls are working as they should to register only qualified voters. Warnock said the 53 questionable voter registration applications, out of nearly 90,000 submitted to the state, represent an error rate of just a fraction of one-tenth of one percent. Other voter registration organizations across the country, he said, have an error rate on their applications of ten percent.