Raffensperger Vows To Prosecute Voters Who Cast 2 Ballots In June Primaries
Updated at 5:19 p.m. Tuesday
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his office is investigating 1,000 Georgians who voted twice in the June primaries.
Raffensperger says the individuals were among the 150,000 who showed up at the polls despite having cast an absentee ballot by mail. He says, in most instances, people who’d already cast their vote were flagged by the system.
“The system worked fine; it’s not the system. It’s really voters, and sometimes I’m sure that people show up and say that they knowingly know what they’re doing,” said Raffensperger. “The thousand people knew what they were doing. There’s no excuse under the law for double voting.”
More than a million Georgians cast ballots my mail during the June primaries, shattering the previous record. But processing and mail delays meant many of those ballots were received just days before the election, leaving very little time for them to be returned.
When asked during Tuesday morning’s press conference how he could determine if someone was attempting to vote twice or simply wasn’t sure if their mail-in vote had been counted, Raffensperger responded, “That’s why we have investigations.”
“By and large, we know one person was bragging about it down in Long County, and we’ll be investigating all 1,000, and we’ll get to the bottom of it,” said Raffensperger.
Raffensperger says voting twice carries a penalty of between one and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
“It did not affect any of the results, but we want to make sure people understand that any double voters will be prosecuted, will be investigated, and, if we have grounds, that we will be sending it over to prosecuting attorneys, and it will be taken up by a court of law,” said Raffensperger.
Jonathan Diaz with the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center says Georgia’s election system should catch people who try to cast more than one ballot.
“That shows me that poll workers are not being sufficiently or adequately trained to follow the proper procedures,” said Diaz.
Diaz says announcements like the ones made by Raffensperger on Tuesday shake voters’ confidence.
“You know it’s alarming that elections officials make these big proclamations about the commencement of an investigation with no real evidence and no results, no conclusions,” said Diaz.
The Democratic Party of Georgia responded Tuesday morning, calling voter fraud in the state “extremely rare.”
“It is clear that rather than do his job of promoting the safety and security of our voting process, the secretary of state is instead pushing the GOP’s voting conspiracy theories and disinformation, as he fights in court to make voting by mail less accessible to voters,” said executive director Scott Hogan.
Raffensperger’s office has also announced its intention to appeal a federal judge’s decision last week to extend the deadline for absentee ballots to be received by counties. Judge Eleanor Ross ruled that ballots should be counted so long as they are postmarked by Election Day and received no more than three days later.