An investigation has been launched into systematic ballot harvesting in Georgia during the 2020 general election and the subsequent U.S. Senate runoff.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed that the probe has been launched to Just the News, adding that authorities may soon issue subpoenas to secure evidence.
The “harvesting” of ballots, a tactic in which third-party activists pick up and deliver ballots on behalf of voters, is banned in Georgia under state law.
As he confirmed the investigation on Tuesday, Raffensperger revealed that his office had received a complaint at the end of November from the conservative voter integrity group True the Vote. This complaint included evidence that activists teamed up with nonprofit groups to collect and deliver thousands of absentee ballots. True The Vote even has both video and cellphone evidence that implicates over 200 activists carrying out drop-offs at ballot boxes, often in the early morning hours.
“We do have some information,” Raffensperger said. “And we are going to investigate that. We did deploy drop boxes that were under 24/7 surveillance, and because they were then that really, you know, can indicate who dropped that information off, and we’re really just going through that.”
Raffensperger, who is up for reelection this year, added that his office is considering asking the State Elections Board to issue subpoenas to secure evidence of things like the names of suspected ballot harvesters.
“That will be one of the processes we’re looking at if we have people that don’t want to come forward for whatever concern, because we really need to get to the bottom of it,” he stated. “We just can’t let it sit there and lie. So if it comes to that, then that’s probably the next step that we’d be looking at.”
True The Vote alleged in its complaint that the video evidence and phone data it has compiled evidence that indicates that a total of 242 people engaged in 5,662 ballot drops, which is an average of 23 runs per alleged harvester. More than 40% of the drops that were captured on camera occurred between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., according to the complaint.
On top of that, True The Vote interviewed a man who claimed he was paid thousands of dollars to harvest ballots in the Atlanta area during the 2020 general election.
“John Doe described a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that worked together to facilitate a ballot trafficking scheme in Georgia,” the group said in its complaint. “John Doe’s assignment included collecting ballots, both from voters in targeted neighborhoods and from NGOs that had their own ballot collection processes, delivering those ballots to other NGOs, picking up designated ballot bundles from the same group of NGOs, and depositing ballots into drop boxes spanning six counties in the metro Atlanta area.”
“Each drop box delivery would typically include between 5 to 20 ballots,” the complaint alleged. “John Doe described a payment validation process which involved taking cell phone pictures of the drop box where ballots were deposited.”