Georgia Secretary of State Orders Absentee Ballot Signature Verification Audit for Cobb County

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia’s top elections official said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state's presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat's lead over Republican President …
Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered an absentee ballot signature verification audit for Cobb County late Monday afternoon.

Raffensperger’s order came just hours after Democratic electors in Georgia cast 16 votes for Joe Biden in Monday’s meeting of the electoral college at the State Capitol. Earlier, Raffensperger certified that Biden secured a little less than 12,000 more votes than Donald Trump in the race for president in the November 3 general election in the state.

“Though the outcome of the race in Georgia will not change, conducting this audit follows in the footsteps of the audit-triggered hand recount we conducted in November to provide further confidence in the accuracy, security, and reliability of the vote in Georgia,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Cobb County, and any other future partners to secure the vote in the Peach State.”

Raffensperger’s office reported:

Secretary Raffensperger first announced that following specific allegations that election workers in Cobb County had not adequately conducted signature matching on absentee ballot applications ahead of the June primary elections, the Office of the Secretary of State would partner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an audit of the signature match in Cobb County. The audit will consist of reviewing a statistically significant subset of the signed absentee ballot envelopes and comparing those signatures to the ones on file in Georgia’s voter registration system.

“Conducting this audit does not in any way suggest that Cobb County was not properly following election procedures or properly conducting signature matching,” said Chris Harvey, Director of Elections for the Secretary of State’s office, who was formerly the Chief Investigator for the office. “We chose Cobb County for this audit because they are well known to have one the best election offices in the state, and starting in Cobb will help as we embark on a statewide signature audit. Just like Cobb County volunteered to be a pilot county for our new voting system, we thank everyone at the Cobb County elections office for their cooperation with this process especially while voting is underway for the runoff.”

The audit of Cobb County’s signature match system is expected to take two weeks. However, it will not change the outcome of the November election.

Raffensperger “also announced a planned statewide signature match audit,” but did not specify a timeline. In the statement, he said “The Office of the Secretary of State will partner with an accredited university to conduct a third-party signature match statewide audit study.”

The Republican Party of Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp, and Trump have been calling on Raffensperger to conduct a complete statewide audit of absentee ballot signature verification procedures in the November 3 general election for several weeks.


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