Top Republicans in Georgia are calling on the state’s board of elections and Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to investigate individuals who may be moving to the state to vote during the upcoming runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats in January, following calls from prominent Democrats and media pundits.
Earlier this week, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, on Twitter, wrote that both he and his wife are moving to the Peach State to campaign for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock against Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Loeffler (R-Ga.).
On Nov. 6, Yang suggested that Democrats from out of state should “get ready to head to Georgia” to “give Joe [Biden] a unified government.” He said there isn’t much time remaining for absentee ballots to be mailed, which is Nov. 18 in the state.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman also told CNN that he hopes that “everybody” can move “to Georgia in the next month or two, registers to vote, and votes for these two Democratic senators.”
“There should be a coordination of resources. Everyone who campaigned for Joe should get ready to head to Georgia. I’ll go,” he added. “It’s the only way to sideline Mitch and give Joe a unified government. There isn’t much time. The earliest date for absentee ballots to be mailed for the runoff is Nov. 18. The registration deadline is Dec. 7. The in-person early voting begins Dec. 14.”
The move drew warnings from political science professors at several universities, saying that people who move to Georgia to vote before moving back could be in violation of voting laws.
Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer wrote that he is calling on Raffensberger’s office to address the idea of “temporary” voters.
“The Georgia Republican Party is concerned about recent media reports that various out-of-state individuals and organizations are advocating that citizens of other states ‘temporarily’ move to Georgia to register and vote in the runoff elections for United States Senate,” he wrote on Thursday.
The secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections, should take steps to direct county registrars to report each new voter registration between Nov. 3 and Dec. 7. Then, an investigation should be conducted before the Jan. 5 runoff election into each new voter between Nov. 3 and Dec. 7 to see if they violated out-of-state voting laws.
“If it is not feasible to accomplish Request No. 2 before the election, segregate all ballots cast in the run-offs to the General Election by new voters registering between November 3, 2020, and December 7, 2020, until such ballots are necessary to determine the outcome of either run-off, at which point an investigation can be conducted into whether the voters are lawful residents.
Citing state voting laws, Shafer said these regulations are designed to prevent the watering-down of Georgia voters in elections.
Raffensberger’s office has not responded to a request for comment on the matter.
Those who wish to move to the state to vote will face steep challenges, warned Eddie Zipperer, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.
“I’ve seen people saying they’ll move to Georgia, but it’s a lot more difficult than they think,” he told Fox News this week. He then warned: “It would be very dangerous and, ultimately, I presume, not worth it.”
Enrijeta Shino, a University of North Florida political science professor, told the paper that it may not be a good idea, noting that elections officials in the state will likely scrutinize voters who recently moved to the state to cast a ballot.
“These are sensitive issues, and election officials are going to pay attention to what is happening,” Shino said. “People should be very careful about doing that,” referring to the idea of moving there just to vote and returning.