ATLANTA — The state’s top elections detective said Wednesday there are 28 confirmed forgeries on voter registrations by a group called the New Georgia Project, speculating there could be many more in one of the biggest-election probes in recent history.
Chris Harvey, chief investigator in the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office, told the State Election Board the confirmed forgeries come from seven counties, with more fishy ones from Effingham in the East to Gwinnett near Atlanta. Local registrars in 13 counties have identified suspicious documents, and many are still trying to contact voters to verify signatures.
During his presentation, seven people with “vote” taped across their mouths stood facing away from him.
“These are not simply incomplete applications,” he said. “The voter denied ever seeing it or signing it.”
A leader of New Georgia, Rep Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, has said that the organization submitted applications for 85,000 voters and that some were incomplete because state law requires forwarding to the government every application even when people didn’t finish filling them out.
Harvey said local officials began raising concerns about the group’s activity in early May. By mid-August, evidence of forgery was discovered in several of them, prompting the Elections Division to issue a subpoena for papers that would show which employees submitted the bogus applications. The group said it couldn’t comply by Tuesday’s deadline but would do so by Sept. 26, and the board voted unanimously to change the date on the subpoena.
David Worley, the only Democrat on the Election Board, said there was no reason for the called board meeting and presentation “other than to slap around the New Georgia Project a little bit” since state investigators can issue or modify a subpoena without board approval. He also noted that 28 bad forms out of 85,000 was a tiny percentage.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp bristled.
“As an investigative body, it’s our duty to look into these complaints,” he said. “…To me, 28 felonies is a lot.”
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