Georgia officials say they’re investigating voter registration groups that allegedly have sent applications to people in other states ahead of the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff election.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said one group sent applications to people in New York City. Another tried to register a dead Alabama woman, he said. Two other groups also sent improper applications, the secretary said.
It’s unclear whether anything illegal actually occurred – one of Raffensperger’s top deputies said the issues under investigation could be legitimate or accidental. But the secretary said the state must remain vigilant about potential voter fraud.
“These third-party (registration) groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting,” Raffensperger said at a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol. “If they do so, they will be held responsible.”
The four under investigation are:
*The group America Votes. which allegedly sent absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994.
*The group Vote Forward, which allegedly attempted to register a dead Alabama woman to vote in Georgia.
*The New Georgia Project – founded by former Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams – allegedly sent voter registration applications to people in New York City.
*The group Operation New Voter Registration Georgia allegedly told college students in Georgia they could change their residency to here, then change it back to their home state after the election.
“Let me be very clear again: Voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony, and encouraging college kids to commit felonies with no regard for what it might mean for them is despicable,” Raffensperger said.
The secretary did not provide additional details of the allegations. Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager, said he assumes the groups will say the incidents were legitimate or accidental.
“But that’s why you investigate,” he said.
Sterling said Georgia voters have already requested 940,000 absentee ballots for the Jan. 5 election – a total sure to rise. By comparison, some 1.3 million people cast absentee ballots in the November general election.
Some 1,040 ballots have already been returned and accepted, he said.
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