Georgia secretary of state orders ballot signature match audit in Cobb County

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Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., discusses what is at stake if Democrats win control of the Senate.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that officials will conduct a signature matching audit of absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County, a move that comes after weeks of pressure from President Trump and his supporters.

Raffensperger, a Republican, said his goal in ordering an audit was to “make our elections accurate and secure and believed by voters.” The audit will check whether signatures on absentee ballot envelops matched signature records among registered voters in the county.

“Now that the signature-matching has been attacked again and again with no evidence, I feel we need to take steps to restore confidence in our elections,” Raffensperger said at a press conference. “Starting immediately, we are pulling all of our resources together with GBI to conduct a signature match audit in Cobb County.”

The audit will not include a review of signatures on absentee ballots themselves, nor will its findings impact the results of Georgia’s presidential election, which were re-certified this month in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

President Trump has yet to concede defeat in the 2020 presidential election and has alleged widespread voter fraud in Georgia and other states where results favored Biden. Trump and his staffers have been critical of how Georgia’s Republican leaders, including Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, handled the election.

In a tweet earlier Monday, Trump called Kemp a "fool" and demanded that he "open up signature verification."

Raffensperger, Kemp and others have repeatedly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.

In keeping with state law, county elections officials conducted a signature review when absentee ballot applications were first submitted. Georgia Republicans have called for additional ballot security measures to be implemented ahead of the state’s Senate runoff votes in January.

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“Vote privacy is top of mind and we will never release how someone voted. We are only reviewing the signatures on the envelope,” Raffensperger added. “We recently received a report that Cobb County may not have conducted a proper signature match in June and we will look into that claim.”

Raffensperger said the state aims to release the results of its audit by Dec. 28.

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