AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrong on Georgia voter signature checks
ATLANTA (AP) — President Donald Trump has wrongly claimed that Georgia election officials are unable to verify signatures on absentee ballot envelopes because of a legal settlement known as a consent decree.
Here’s a look at Trump’s claims, in a tweet on Saturday:
TRUMP: “The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!”
THE FACTS: There is nothing in the consent decree that prevents Georgia election clerks from scrutinizing signatures. The legal settlement signed in March addresses accusations about a lack of statewide standards for judging signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said that not only is it entirely possible to match signatures, but that the state requires it.
When a voter requests an absentee ballot on a paper application, he or she must sign it. Election officials compare that signature to the signature in voter registration files before a ballot is sent to the voter, Raffensperger said.
When those ballots are returned, the required signature on the outer envelope is compared to signatures in the voter registration system.
This process was spelled out in detail in the consent decree, a legal settlement that was signed March 6.
A lawsuit by the Democratic Party, which led to the agreement, argued that minorities were disproportionately affected when they had their ballots rejected. Among other things, the settlement sets steps for local election officials to notify a voter — by phone, mail or email — in a timely fashion about problems with a signature.
The changes were made by the state election board.
Following state law, Georgia is pursuing a hand tally of votes in the presidential race. Democrat Joe Biden leads Trump by about 14,000 votes in the state. There are no examples of similar recounts that have overturned leads of that magnitude.
The signature issue resurfaced after lawyer L. Lin Wood Jr. filed a federal lawsuit Friday questioning whether the secretary of state had the authority to require the process of signature verification outlined in the agreement.
Wood is known for representing several high-profile clients including security guard Richard Jewell, who was identified as a suspect of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta but later cleared.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.
There are several things wrong in the AP FactCheck.
Raffensperger is LYING when he claims that Georgia checks the signature on the absentee ballot application and compares it to the signature on voter registration before sending the absentee ballot over.
Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release made between Raffensperger and Democrats SPECIFICALLY states the following:
“When reviewing an elector’s signature on the mail-in absentee ballot envelope, the registrar or clerk must compare the signature on the mail-in absentee ballot envelope to each signature contained in such elector’s voter registration record in eNet and the elector’s signature on the application for the mail-in absentee ballot. If the registrar or absentee ballot clerk determines that the voter’s signature on the mail-in absentee ballot envelope does not match any of the voter’s signatures on file in eNet or on the absentee ballot application“
And this makes it clear that the signature on the absentee ballot application CAN BE DIFFERENT than the signature on the voter registration and therefore it is CLEAR that Georgia does NOT first compare the signature on the absentee ballot application to the signature on voter registration before sending the absentee ballot because the whole point of this deal between Raffensperger and Democrats was that when the signature on the voter registration does NOT match the signature on the absentee ballot then the signature on the absentee ballot must be compared to the signature on the absentee ballot application and if it matches to that then the ballot is accepted so therefore there can be TWO different kinds of signatures on the Georgia system: the signature from the voter registration and the signature from the absentee ballot application and if either matches the ballot passes the signature verification and is counted.
2. Raffensperger is LYING when he claims that there is nothing in the agreement stopping Georgia election clerks from scrutinizing signatures.
The agreement was written in a such a way that checking signatures became so time consuming and hard that election clerks in Georgia practically STOPPED doing signature verificiations because requirements are as follows:
” If the registrar or absentee ballot clerk determines that the voter’s signature on the mail-in absentee ballot envelope does not match any of the voter’s signatures on file in eNet or on the absentee ballot application, the registrar or absentee ballot clerk must seek review from two other registrars, deputy registrars, or absentee ballot clerks. A mail-in absentee ballot shall not be rejected unless a majority of the registrars, deputy registrars, or absentee ballot clerks reviewing the signature agree that the signature does not match any of the voter’s signatures on file in eNet or on the absentee ballot application. If a determination is made that the elector’s signature on the mail-in absentee ballot envelope does not match any of the voter’s signatures on file in eNet or on the absentee ballot application,the registrar or absentee ballot clerk shall write the names of the three elections officials who conducted the signature review across the face of the absentee ballot envelope, which shall be in addition to writing“Rejected” and the reason for the rejection
And this rejection that requires three election clerks then send the ballot to be cured so the election clerks then have to contact the voter and give the voter and opportunity to cure the signature.
Therefore it is clear that Raffensperger has tied the hands of election clerks in a loop where practically no absentee ballots are rejected based on signature verification and because the signature verification is so time-consuming election clerks do NOT have time to do that so suspect absentee ballots that would have been disqualified are now just counted despite no real signature verification being done because the election clerks hands have been tied by Raffensperger and the result is that previously 3.5% of absentee ballots were disqualified after signature verification and now just 0.3% are.
In short to AP:
Brad Raffensperger LIED to AP and you made a completely bogus and FALSE factcheck based on Brad Raffensperger LYING to you.
Here is the the agreement between Democrats and Brad Raffensperger and this is public because Lin Wood made it public:
Raffensperger had NO authority in essence to DESTROY signature verification and he did this ILLEGALLY.
Also Brad Raffensperger’s agreement with Democrats enabled massive election fraud in Georgia.
Please read the following and make some actual journalism based on that: