by John Solomon at Just the News
Georgia authorities have launched an investigation into an allegation of systematic ballot harvesting during the state’s 2020 general election and subsequent U.S. Senate runoff and may soon issue subpoenas to secure evidence, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed to Just the News.
Georgia law strictly prohibits third-party activists from picking up and delivering ballots on behalf of voters, a tactic called “harvesting” that liberal organizers have tried to get legalized in many battleground states without success. The U.S. Supreme Court this summer rejected Democrat efforts to overturn an Arizona law that outlawed harvesting in the battleground state.
Raffensperger, who is seeking reelection in 2022, led a successful effort in 2019 to strengthen Georgia’s prohibition against harvesting ahead of the 2020 presidential election, and defeated an effort by prominent Democrat lawyer Marc Elias to overturn the harvesting ban. Raffensperger also reviewed and rejected claims by former President Donald Trump of widespread fraud during the 2020 election in a series of contacts under investigation by a local district attorney in Atlanta and the Jan. 6 select committee in Congress.
According to interviews and documents reviewed by Just the News, Raffensperger’s office received a detailed complaint from conservative voter integrity group True the Vote on Nov. 30 saying it had assembled evidence that scores of activists worked with nonprofit groups to collect and deliver thousands of absentee ballots, often during wee-hour operations, to temporary voting drop boxes distributed around the state during the pandemic.
The group informed the secretary its evidence included video footage from surveillance cameras placed by counties outside the drop boxes as well as geolocation data for the cell phones of more than 200 activists seen on the tapes purportedly showing the dates and times of ballot drop-offs, according to documents reviewed by Just the News.
The group also said it interviewed a Georgia man who admitted he was paid thousands of dollars to harvest ballots in the Atlanta metropolitan area during the November election and the lead-up to Jan. 5, 2021 runoff for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats, which were both captured by Democrats and ended GOP control of Congress. The group has yet to identify the cooperating witness to state authorities, referring to him in the complaint simply as John Doe.
The group does not allege the ballots delivered by couriers were fraudulent. Nonetheless, lawful ballots delivered by third-parties to drop boxes would run afoul of Georgia’s law.
Raffensperger confirmed in an interview aired Tuesday on the John Solomon Reports podcast that his office has deemed the allegations credible enough to open an investigation and possibly seek subpoenas from the State Election Board to secure evidence.
“We do have some information,” Raffensperger said. “And we are going to investigate that. We did deploy drop boxes that were under 24/7 surveillance, and because they were then that really, you know, can indicate who dropped that information off, and we’re really just going through that.”
Catherine Engelbrecht, the longtime head of True the Vote, declined to comment Tuesday, saying she wanted to let the Georgia investigation take its course.
The secretary of state’s office did not review video footage from the drop boxes after the 2020 election but a statistical analysis from the federally funded research center Mitre Labs found “no suspicious indicators of ballot harvesting,” Raffensperger said.
That said, the allegation a specific individual engaged in illegal harvesting warrants investigation, he added.
“If people give us, you know, credible allegations, we want to make sure that we do that,” Raffensperger told Just the News. “And we have that right now as an ongoing investigation.”
Raffensperger said his office is considering asking…Continue Reading