ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned Georgia's secretary of state is investigating allegations of forged voter registration applications and demanding records from a voter registration group with ties to one of the state's highest ranking Democrats.
A subpoena was sent to the New Georgia Project and its parent organization Third Sector Development on Tuesday.
The organization is a project of the nonprofit organization Third Sector Development, which was founded and is led by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
The subpoena demands all documents be turned over to the State Election Board's investigators by Sept. 16.
In a memo sent to county elections officials, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in recent weeks his office has “received numerous complaints about voter applications submitted by the New Georgia Project.”
Kemp wrote, “Preliminary investigation has revealed significant illegal activities’ including forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases, and applications with false or inaccurate information.”
A spokesman confirmed Kemp's office was contacted by officials in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Bartow, Butts and Muscogee counties.
“We’re just not going to put up with fraud. I mean, we have zero tolerance for that in Georgia so we’ve opened an investigation and served some subpoenas,” Kemp told Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary. “At the end of the day this is not going to be about politics. This is about potential fraud which we think happened.”
Geary went to the location where the subpoena was served and found a UPS store inside the lobby of a Sheraton Hotel in downtown Atlanta.
The New Georgia Project's website describes it as “a non-partisan effort to register and civically engage the rising electorate in our state.”
Abrams released a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“The abrupt release of this subpoena saddens me as I know the efforts of this organization have been done with the mission of increasing voter registration and engagement in the most disadvantaged and underserved groups in the state. The New Georgia Project team has worked directly with the Secretary of State’s Office every step of the way, seeking to address any concerns raised by their office or by the counties, to share information and be transparent on our work.”
New Georgia Project spokesman and senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, also sent a statement to Channel 2 Action News that said, "I am fearful that within our state there are grave voter inequalities in minority communities, and I hope that this investigation by the Secretary of State is not intended to thwart efforts to enfranchise voters."