Georgia officials are investigating what they believe is an organized ballot harvesting scheme that took place in the state’s 2020 elections.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed that his office received credible allegations of an illegal organized ballot harvesting scheme.
In Georgia, ballot harvesting, or having third-party activists collect and deliver ballots on behalf of voters, is illegal.
Raffensperger received the complaint from True the Vote, an election integrity group. True the Vote told Raffensperger in November they have evidence that activists illegally harvested thousands of absentee ballots in Atlanta.
True the Vote originally asked Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Ga., to look into their findings last spring, but he ignored them.
The group reported that they had security footage from outside the drop boxes showing 242 different activists stuffing drop boxes with a massive amount of ballots. Nearly half of the instances occurred between midnight and five in the morning. The group also claimed to have geolocation data from the cell phones of those seen on the tape.
Over 5,600 ballot drops were made in total by these activists, according to the group, an average of 23 drops per harvester, potentially influencing tens of thousands of votes.
An unidentified Georgia resident also reportedly told the group that he was paid thousands of dollars to illegally harvest ballots in the Atlanta-metropolitan area in the 2020 presidential and senatorial elections.
If these allegations are true, ballot harvesting would have manipulated the state’s results, which narrowly awarded Joe Biden its 16 electoral votes, and narrowly propelled Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.
45th President Donald Trump applauded discovery in a brief written statement on Tuesday.
“Wow, big news on Georgia election fraud,” wrote Trump. “Many other states to follow!”
Raffensperger revealed on Tuesday that he would investigate the “credible” accusations, and potentially seek subpoenas from the State Election Board to get the names of the suspected ballot harvesters.
Raffensperger also admitted in the past that in Fulton County, the state’s largest county residing in Atlanta, there have been “continued failures” in their handling and administration of elections.
Many of Fulton County’s election officials resigned after the 2020 election.
While Raffensperger investigates the elections more than one year after they took place, he still insists that Joe Biden won Georgia by less than 12,000 votes over President Trump.
Trump has slammed Raffensperger for his handling of the 2020 presidential election, and endorsed his primary opponent, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., for Georgia’s 2022 secretary of state election.
Trump has criticized Raffensperger for allowing Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, an activist and gubernatorial candidate, to pressure him to install the controversial drop boxes used in the 2020 election.
Raffensperger installed drop boxes, which are legal, but rarely used, throughout the state under the guise of Covid-19, which could have led to falsely cast ballots.
In March 2021, Georgia Republicans passed an election integrity bill that significantly reduced the number of drop boxes in order to help prevent ballot harvesting. Georgia voters must also cast their ballots, whether it is early, same-day, or absentee, during voting hours, and present a form of identification.
A final recommendation will be made by authorities into the allegations of ballot harvesting in Atlanta later this month.