- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 23, 2021

Georgia state investigators have long been working, under the radar, at going through scores of voter fraud claims from the Nov. 3 election, and to date have found nothing to change the state’s final 11,779-vote victory by President Biden, officials tell The Washington Times.

The examination is focused on Fulton County, Georgia’s largest, where Mr. Biden rang up a big margin, 72% to 26%, and where Donald Trump supporters claimed the most ballot irregularities.

After six months, a state official told The Times, “We found nothing that would lead us to believe the outcome wasn’t what it was reported as.”

The complaint-by-complaint scrutiny by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his 30-person investigative unit is ongoing as even more election scrutiny hits the state — this time from a voter lawsuit. 

A judge on Friday ordered an audit of Fulton’s 145,000 absentee ballots. Mr. Raffensperger already ordered and completed statewide machine and hand recounts that verified the scanning accuracy and Mr. Biden’s win. 

Supporters of former President Donald Trump express suspicions about how clerks decide that a signature on the ballot matches the one on file. They also question the chain-of-custody for ballots placed in dropboxes for later pick-up and whether some ballots were concocted.

The judge ruled, according to The Associated Press, that to-be-named private auditors will examine scanned ballots, not the originals. 

After battling Mr. Trump, Mr. Raffensperger, an elected Republican, is now under fire from Democrats, Major League Baseball and certain corporations for supporting a Georgia election overhaul law that took signature-matching out of the process, replacing that process with a photo ID requirement for absentee ballot applications. The law also expanded early voting days.

Mr. Raffensperger says he supports a new audit. 

“From Day One, I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues,” he said. “Fulton County has a long-standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”

Mr. Trump, who contends the national election was stolen, put more of his firepower into changing Georgia’s outcome than any other battleground state.

He engaged in a tense Jan. 2 phone call with Mr. Raffensperger, accusing him of criminality by letting fraud happen unchecked. He claimed without proof that 300,000 “fake” ballots were cast and other ballots were destroyed and machines were hidden.

Mr. Raffensperger and his staff told the president his numbers were wrong. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the state’s FBI equivalent, was called in and found none of what the president was describing.

Besides the machine and hand recounts, Mr. Raffensperger also ordered spot signature audits to check if absentee ballots matched the samples on file. He says they did.

As part of the feud with Mr. Raffensperger, Mr. Trump’s lawyer backers urged conservatives not to support two Republican U.S. Senate candidates in runoff elections. A poll showed a significant number stayed home, swinging victories, and control of the Senate, to Democrats. 

Trump lawyers’ showcase event for supposed fraud was a Fulton County counting room in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. On rolling CCTV video, the public has viewed clerks cease counting. They then put paper ballots in containers and put them under tables, only to bring them back out and resume machine scanning once observers left. 

Rudolph W. Giuliani, then heading the president’s “Stop the Steal” campaign to overturn the election in court, said the video was irrefutable proof votes were stolen. 

However, Mr. Raffensperger’s investigative unit, primarily filled with ex-law enforcement officers, viewed the same video, interviewed election officials and determined nothing nefarious happened. That conclusion has not changed months later, a state official told The Washington Times.

The state’s timeline: At 10 p.m. the clerks decided to suspend counting for the night. Various officials got wind of the suspension and telephoned the county elections board with orders to keep counting until done, which happened around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 4. Subsequent recounts did not reveal fraud.

Frances Watson, Mr. Raffensperger’s chief investigator, filed a sworn affidavit in court a month after the election. She said that, contrary to media reports, the observers were not told to leave.

“My investigators have interviewed witnesses and security footage of State Farm Arena between November 3 and 4, 2020,” she said. “Our investigation discovered that observers and media were not asked to leave. They simply left on their own when they saw one group of workers, whose job was only to open envelopes and who had completed that task, also leave.”

Ms. Watson, a former law enforcement investigator, further stated, “Our investigation and review of the entire security footage revealed that there were no mystery ballots that were brought in from an unknown location and hidden under tables as has been reported by some.”

Months later, Ms. Watson does not see any new information that would change her account of what happened on election night. 

The Washington Times obtained a spreadsheet that shows 50 of dozens of Fulton County complaints being investigated by the Georgia secretary of state. Each complaint has a case number and included: “vote buying;” “poll watcher issue;” “voter privacy issue,” “unqualified voter;” “food truck at polling place;” “excess voting,” and “double voting.”

One person filed 20 complaints.

Many of Mr. Trump’s fraud allegations appeared to have come from his legal team and their sources, some of whom performed analysis of online voting data and then came to conclusions of voter fraud. For example, two data experts told a state Senate committee that 24,658 votes were removed from Mr. Trump and another 12,173 were switched from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden. The conclusion was based on internet numbers for various counties.

The state official told The Washington Times, “We’ve had a lot of people claiming to be data scientists saying they know ballots were switched but [who] never reveal their data or, when they did, it turned out they were just making estimates based off unreliable assumptions but had no tangible evidence of ballots that were supposed to be counted one way that were counted a different way anyway.”

Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger on the Jan. 2 phone call, according to a CNN transcript: “The ballots are corrupt. And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal, it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen.”

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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