Georgia is conducting a signature audit of votes in Cobb County and may expand the audit statewide, the secretary of state’s office announced on Monday.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered the audit in Cobb County on Monday over concerns that the signature matching process followed when votes were first counted was not conducted properly in the county, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Raffensperger said he may expand the audit statewide but prioritized Cobb County because of the specific complaint against Cobb County.
“I feel we need to take steps to restore confidence in our elections,” Raffensperger said during a press conference, according to the Journal-Constitution. “Starting immediately, we are pulling all of our resources together with GBI to conduct a signature match audit in Cobb County.”
The audit will cover a statistically significant number of ballots from both the primary and general election. The complaint that triggered the audit was in reference to the county’s signature matching process during the primary in June, but the audit will cover both the primary and general election.
“The unprecedented signature audit could show whether signatures on absentee ballot envelopes really did match the voter signatures kept on file. But there’s no way to match voter signatures to ballots after envelopes were opened,” the Journal-Constitution reported. “The right to cast a secret ballot is guaranteed by the state Constitution.”
President Trump has consistently called for a signature audit of Georgia’s votes sent by mail, hammering the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state. The state has already conducted two statewide recounts, finding a number of mistakes totaling thousands of votes, but not enough to flip the state from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to Trump, who trails by about 12,000 votes.
On Dec. 3, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reasserted his calls for a signature audit, though the decision is ultimately left up to the secretary of state.
“You know, I’ve called early on for a signature audit, obviously the secretary of state, per the laws and the Constitution would have to order that; he has not done that,” Kemp said in an interview on Fox News. “I think it should be done. I think, especially with what we saw today, it raises more questions. There needs to be transparency on that. I would again call for that, and I think in the next 24 hours hopefully we’ll see a lot more from the hearings that the legislature had today and we’ll be able to look and see what the next steps are.”
In November, the Trump campaign called for a second recount in Georgia but stipulated that without signature matching, the recount “would be a sham.”
“President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards. Without signature matching, this recount would be a sham and again allow for illegal votes to be counted,” the campaign said. “If there is no signature matching, this would be as phony as the initial vote count and recount. Let’s stop giving the People false results. There must be a time when we stop counting illegal ballots. Hopefully it is coming soon.”