Georgia elections chief fires back at Trump

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The dissension among the republican ranks following Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden continued Saturday with Georgia’s elections chief firing back at the president in response to an earlier Trump tweet.

The war of words among republicans began earlier this week when both of Georgia’s republican senators sent a statement demanding Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — also a republican — resign due to mishandling of the election. The senators did not cite specific examples.

Raffensperger responded with a statement of his own, telling the senators in no uncertain terms that his resignation was “not going to happen.” He also stated that the voters hired him and it would be up to the voters — not the Senators — to fire him.

Raffensperger then ordered a hand recount of all presidential ballots in the state — a total of about 5 million votes.

Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Georgia’s republican governor Brian Kemp and Raffensperger of aligning themselves with Stacey Abrams in an effort to cheat in the election in favor of Biden.

Trump appeared to take issue with a consent agreement earlier this year allowing voters who had mismatched signatures an opportunity to fix their absentee ballots before those ballots were thrown out. Prior to the decree, absentee ballots sent by, African American, Latino, and young voters were more likely to be thrown out due to signature issues.

Here is Trump’s tweet:

Without mentioning Trump by name, Raffensperger issued a statement Saturday morning citing “misinformation that has circulated in social media.”

In the statement, Raffensperger explained how signatures are matched in Georgia. Below is Raffensperger’s statement in its entirety.

Secretary Brad Raffensperger’s Office issued an explanation Saturday of the signature-verification process in Georgia to address misinformation that has circulated in social media.

How Signature Verification for Absentee Ballots Works in Georgia

When absentee ballots are requested, the application, if made by the individual voter, on a paper application which must be signed by that voter.

When the application is reviewed by the county elections/registration office, that signature on the application is compared to signature(s) of the same voter on file in the voter registration. If the signature is consistent with previous signatures (it need not be an “exact match”) then the application is accepted and an absentee ballot packet is mailed to the voter. 

If a voter uses the Secretary of State’s Absentee Ballot Online Portal, the applicant must provide their date of birth and driver’s license number to verify their identity when applying for their absentee ballot. If this information matches the voter registration information, the voter need not provide a signature and the absentee ballot packet is mailed to the voter. 

When the voter marks their absentee and places it in the envelope to return to the county, the voter MUST sign the oath on the outside of the outer envelope. When the ballot is returned to the county, the first thing the county must do is compare the signature to the absentee ballot application (unless the application was made online) and then also compare the ballot envelope signature to the signature(s) of the voter from the voter registration system. Again, the signatures must be consistent, though need not match “exactly.” 

If the signature is missing or is NOT consistent with the signatures on file, the county office rejects the ballot, but then contacts the voter and sends a “cure affidavit” for the voter to provide a signature AND copy of identification to confirm that it is actually the registered voter who voted and returned the ballot. If the voter fails to provide this information by three days after the election, the ballot is not counted. If the voter does provide this “cure affidavit” and copy of identification, the absentee ballot is “cured” and is counted with the other absentee ballots.

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