Georgia’s state election board has voted to move forward with an investigation into newly elected Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.) over potential voter registration misconduct, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
What are the details?
Warnock, who defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler on Jan. 5 in the state’s runoff election, is listed as a respondent in the case because of his past role as board chairman of the New Georgia Project, a third-party voter registration group founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
According to an investigator with the secretary of state’s office, the organization is accused of failing to meet deadlines by hand-delivering 1,268 voter registration applications to the Gwinnett County elections office after the mandatory 10-day period had elapsed. State election rules require completed applications to be submitted by voter registration organizations within 10 days after they are received from the voter.
Warnock was serving as board chairman in 2019 when the misconduct reportedly took place. Neither he nor the New Georgia Project responded to AJC’s requests for comment.
On Wednesday, the election board voted 3-0 to continue on with the probe after the board’s only Democratic member recused himself and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is the board’s chairman and normally doesn’t vote unless to break a tie, abstained.
It’s the latest point of contention between the organization and the state’s Republican officials. Raffensperger, though dismissive of former President Trump’s claims of widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election, launched investigations into several third-party voter registrations groups, including the New Georgia Project, over the last few months.
In December, Raffensperger announced that his office was investigating the groups for “repeatedly and aggressively” seeking to register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” ahead of the runoff election.
Raffensperger claimed that despite repeated warnings, his office had “received specific evidence that these groups have solicited voter registrations from ineligible individuals who have passed away or live out of state” — including three mailers that arrived on the secretary of state’s own doorstep urging his deceased son to register to vote.
In a statement to Forbes, New Georgia Project CEO Nse Ufot said, “Today’s State Election Board meeting was the first time we heard about the allegations regarding NGP’s important voter registration work from 2019. We have not received any information on this matter from the Secretary or any other Georgia official.”
Warnock resigned from his post on the New Georgia Project’s board on Jan. 28, 2020. Since Loeffler was an appointed senator, Warnock’s victory was in a special election. His term ends in 2022.
The announcement for the investigation comes only days after Fulton County prosecutors launched an investigation of their own into Trump’s January phone call with Raffensperger.