It has finally happened. The state of Georgia is finally conducting a statewide review of signatures on absentee ballots after declining to do so for weeks on pressure from President Donald Trump.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made the announcement of the statewide review on Thursday in a press release.
“We are confident that elections in Georgia are secure, reliable, and effective,” he said. “Despite endless lawsuits and wild allegations from Washington, D.C. pundits, we have seen no actual evidence of widespread voter fraud, though we are investigating all credible reports. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the University of Georgia on this signature match review to further instill confidence in Georgia’s voting systems.”
“Secretary Raffensperger has asked researchers at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs to conduct research, including a randomized signature match study of election materials handled at the county level in the November 3 Presidential contest. This work will also include research on processes used at the county level to perform signature-matching,” the press release said.
“The work UGA will perform is a study of a sample of signed envelopes in each county from the presidential election. It is intended to be forward-looking, helping to inform and optimize election administration for future electoral contests in the State of Georgia,” it said.
President Trump has been calling for a signature audit for weeks and, this month during an appearance on Fox News, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also called for the audit.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The Trump campaign said in November said that a recount that did not include a signature audit 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,” it 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