Americans have high yet simple expectations for our elections. We want free and fair votes, honest counts of legal ballots, and serious investigations of fraud allegations.
I have deep concerns that the state of Georgia has failed to meet these standards. Newly uncovered ballots, suspicious irregularities, and a flawed verification process have caused many of us to doubt this election’s integrity.
One of my biggest frustrations has been with the signature verification of absentee ballots. This year, a massive number of Georgians voted absentee by mail. Mail-in voting is inherently more susceptible to fraud and requires a meticulous verification process to compare the signatures of absentee voters to ensure that they are indeed legally registered voters. That this failed to occur is evident in the data. In 2018, approximately 223,000 Georgians voted absentee by mail, and 3.5% of these ballots were rejected because the signatures could not be verified – a rate comparable with other states. In 2020, however, more than 1.3 million Georgians voted absentee by mail but just 0.3% of ballots were rejected. It defies commonsense that the number of absentee ballots would skyrocket and the number of signature mismatches would plummet. Until a rigorous signature verification process occurs, we will never know how many of the 1.3 million absentee ballots were illegal votes that should not be included in the count.
It was no surprise to me that the Georgia recount did not significantly change the margins of the race. The recount merely counted the same ballots a second time, and made no effort whatsoever to remove illegal ballots. This is completely unacceptable. Every single illegal ballot diminishes the value of each legal vote. All Georgians, regardless of our politics, deserve legitimate elections.
Looking forward, as your federal representative in Washington, I am committed to working to restore the integrity of our election system – and to encourage our state representatives in Georgia to do the same.
Jody Hice represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.