What is being done to guard against voter fraud?

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 11:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With the runoff elections a little over a month away, voting rights advocates and third-party groups across the state are ramping up their efforts to register Georgia voters.

And even if you didn’t vote in the presidential election, you can still vote in the runoffs.

As the election recount in Georgia nears its end, the stake are rising for the January runoffs.

“We used to have, what was called election day. Now we have election days, weeks and months,” President Donald Trump said in a briefing.

You might be getting mail or texts, encouraging you to vote in January. And while most of them may be harmless, Georgia’s secretary of state is cracking down on third-party organizations encouraging ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voter registration in Georgia.

“Third-party groups have every right to register people. They don’t have a right to encourage people to break the law, to confuse and frighten people by sending things to their dead relatives, and then it undermines the overall confidence in the system the same way President Trump’s comments are,” election official Gabriel Sterling said.

The Secretary of State’s office has a team of 23 investigators looking into any allegations of voter fraud.

After tweeting about alleged “massive voter fraud in Georgia,” President Trump took the stage today and talked about making sure illegal votes are not counted.

“We are going to defend the honesty of the vote,” he said.

And that’s just what Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s staff is doing.

“We will continue to do our jobs and follow the law and follow the process,” Raffensperger said.

State law has several safeguards in place that prevent voter fraud at each stage of an election, including requiring documented proof of permanent residence to register.

For absentee requests and ballots, there’s a two-step signature approval process.

Also, the state maintains a list of all registered voters and the Health Department is required to report a person’s death so that list can be updated.

Poll workers have to be signed in when around ballots and no worker will be left alone with the ballots.

“We are a nation of laws and not of men. We have to remember that. We have systems and policies and procedures and institutions that have served us well. We do well to secure, protect and enhance those institutions and preserve, defend protect our constitution and our nation,” Raffensperger said.

Information on state laws and procedures to prevent voter fraud

  • If you register to vote, you must provide documented proof of permanent residency in the form of ID, mail, tax documentation or other ways.
  • To vote in-person, you must show picture ID.
  • For absentee voting, your absentee ballot application with signature is verified with a signature on file. Once your completed ballot is returned, your signature on the ballot is again verified with the signature on file.
  • The voting system will flag any ballots that may have been submitted twice or any voter who attempted to vote twice.
  • The Secretary of State Office keeps a list of all registered voters. If a person dies, the Department of Health is required to inform the Secretary of State Office so that person’s name can be removed from the voter registration list as soon as an update is possible.
  • Poll workers must sign in when working and a worker is never left alone with the ballots. At least two workers must be present.
  • All ballot drop-boxes are firmly secured, tamper-proof and under 24-hour surveillance.
  • According to the Georgia Code, false registration, i.e. someone who registers to vote knowing that they do not possess the qualifications required by law, is a felony and can be punished by between one and ten years in prison, and/or up to a $100,000 fine. Any individual or group who organizes or finances efforts to bring individuals to Georgia to register falsely as electors may also potentially be charged with felony racketeering under O.C.G.A. § 16-14-3(5)(A)(xxii), which can be punishable by between five and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 per count.
  • If you see or suspect voter fraud, report it using the Voter Fraud Hotline, 877-725-9797.

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