Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said there is no evidence to back up claims of 'fraudulent and counterfeit' ballots in the 2020 election.
Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday said there is no evidence to back up claims by a group of election conspiracy theorists that there were fraudulent and counterfeit ballots cast in the 2020 election in the state.
Raffensperger debunked the allegation in a court filing in Fulton County, where Republicans are seeking a review of some 145,000 ballots in the heavily Democratic area that was instrumental in lifting President Joe Biden to a narrow victory over Donald Trump in the state.
A judge on Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by the conspiracy theorists in an attempt to gain access to review the ballots, saying they did not have standing to sue.
Those who sought the review based their need to inspect the ballots in part on an allegation by Susan Voyles, a poll worker who has since been fired from her job for violating protocols and is now running for Congress in the state as a Republican.
In a December 2020 court filing seeking the review, the plaintiffs claimed that Voyles "personally observed as a hand count auditor what she believes are fraudulent or fabricated absentee ballots because the suspect absentee ballots were not creased ... were not marked with a writing instrument but appeared to be marked with toner ... were different in the stock or paper used."
Investigators with Raffensperger's office interviewed Voyles and others she said would substantiate her claims and reviewed "1,000 absentee ballots and ballot images" that Voyles said were the fraudulent ballots in question and did not discover "any absentee ballots that match the descriptions given by affiants or otherwise appear to be fraudulent or counterfeit," according to Raffensperger's response to the court.
The investigators looked over the ballots in specific boxes that Voyles claimed looked "pristine" and found that none fit Voyles' description.
The investigators also questioned people Voyles said she reported the suspicious ballots to, and "all of them denied having spoken to the witness [Voyles] about suspicious-looking ballots."
"In conclusion, based upon interviews with the foregoing witnesses, as well as other witnesses who were interviewed during the course of the investigation, and the inspection of approximately 1,000 absentee ballots and ballot images, the Secretary's investigators have been unable to substantiate the allegations that fraudulent or counterfeit ballots were counted in the 2020 General Election in Fulton County," attorneys for Raffensperger's office wrote.
The review also looked into a claim made by the plaintiffs that a delay in counting caused by a "water main break" at the State Farm Arena tabulation site was taken advantage of by people processing ballots to "illegally" count "cases" of them.
Investigators with Raffensperger's office reviewed "nearly 24 hours of security footage" and "interviewed all witnesses present at State Farm Arena during the relevant time period" and found that the claimed "suitcases" of ballots were "normal ballot bins, which had been filled by elections workers with absentee ballots that had been opened and sorted but not yet scanned for tabulation."
"In sum, investigators concluded that there was no evidence to corroborate the Petitioners' allegations that elections workers at State Farm Arena scanned and counted fraudulent ballots that they had previously hidden under tables in the tabulation center," the filing from Raffensperger's attorneys says.
Trump, who tried to coerce Raffensperger to declare him the winner of an election he lost, has parroted the lies debunked in the Georgia report, including that "suitcases" of ballots were improperly counted in Georgia.
The Georgia ballot review was one of a number of attempts by Republicans to back up Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Last month, state Senate Republicans in Arizona completed a scandal-plagued "audit" of some 2 million ballots in the state — at a cost of millions of dollars to Arizona taxpayers — only to conclude that Biden did in fact defeat Trump.
Republicans are currently conducting a review of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin, where Biden defeated Trump as well. That review is resulting in embarrassing headlines, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Former Supreme Court Justice Gableman, head of Republican review of Wisconsin election, says he does not understand how elections work."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.