Back-to-back hearings have been scheduled for Thursday by the Senate Government Oversight Committee to “evaluate the election process” and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to field election-impropriety claims.
The two meetings come as officials in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office continue to dismiss claims of widespread voter fraud by allies of President Donald Trump, who certified results show lost the Nov. 3 presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden in Georgia by 12,670 votes.
In particular, Trump’s allies have homed in on how Georgia verifies signatures on the roughly 1.3 million mail-in ballots cast in the presidential election and have urged Raffensperger’s office to launch an audit aimed at matching those signatures with registration information.
Raffensperger’s office has signaled it is unlikely to do so without a court order, though the secretary of state has called for the General Assembly to pass legislation that would toughen up Georgia’s voter ID laws. A handful of federal lawsuits challenging the election’s certification are still winding through the courts.
Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, have also called for passing tighter voter ID rules during the legislative session that starts next month.
State election officials have highlighted claims of individual voting fraud or irregularities as part of more than 250 ongoing investigations as well as management stumbles from a few local election boards like Fulton County. Raffensperger’s office has also launched investigations into groups allegedly attempting to register out-of-state voters ahead of the U.S. Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5.
None of those issues are likely to overturn the ultimate outcome of the presidential election, state officials have said. Raffensperger’s office expects a second recount of the more-than 5 million ballots cast in the presidential election to wrap up by midnight Wednesday.
The state Senate meetings were announced jointly by the chamber’s majority caucus leaders including President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville; Majority Leader Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton; Majority Whip Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega; Majority Caucus Chairman John Kennedy, R-Macon; Majority Caucus Vice Chairman Larry Walker III, R-Perry; and Majority Caucus Secretary Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge.