ATLANTA — It was part of a Georgia Consent Decree signed back in March that required state officials to match the signature of a voter requesting a ballot on paper with their signature of record before approving the ballot.
And it has become a persistent target of some national Republicans looking for ways to cast doubt on Georgia’s election process.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said over the weekend he’d had conversation with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. He says Graham inferred that Raffensperger should consider throwing out legally cast mail-in ballots.
“Well, he asked if the ballots could be matched back to the voters and then, I got the sense that, then you could throw those out.. really could look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures, so that’s the impression that I got," said Raffensperger.
Tuesday, Graham denied it and added his concern was making sure January’s Senate runoffs will be secure.
“We were talking about an election we haven’t even had yet which is the senate races. That was my focus, how do you verify the signatures. We have a senate race coming up. Is there anything we can do to make it better," Graham said.
GEORGIA VOTER GUIDE:
- Key Dates for 2020 Runoff Elections in Georgia
- These are the 7 races that are in a runoff in Georgia
- Did you know? You can still register to vote in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs
- How to vote by absentee ballot for Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections
Channel 2′s Justin Gray spoke with Raffensperger Tuesday and asked about the signature match program.
“Is there any indication that there is anything that has gone wrong with our signature match on these absentee ballots,” asked Gray. “No. We’ve actually strengthened signature match,” said Raffensperger.
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With less than two months before the January runoffs, Raffensperger explained how election workers are able to make sure the right signature is on the ballots.
“We have signature match when you request the ballot, absentee ballot. And then we have signature match when it comes in and then with our new online absentee ballot portal, that has photo ID so we feel really confident that the election officials have done their job, said Raffensperger.
On Tuesday, six Republican State Senators called for professional handwriting analysts to examine ballot signatures. That’s on top of the steady stream of tweets from President Donald Trump focused on March’s consent decree. Raffensperger stands by the process.
“It hasn’t changed anything. That’s just another red herring that has been thrown out there by a campaign that doesn’t have the votes in this state, and apparently other states," said Raffensperger.