Raffensperger orders signature match audit in Cobb County

absentee ballot drop boxBallot drop at the South Cobb Government Center (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced in a news release that he has ordered a signature match audit in Cobb County.

He stated that it will have no effect on the outcome of the November general election.

Cobb has been the subject of internet conspiracy theories accusing the county of ballot shredding, and Raffensperger and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp have been under attack from defeated President Donald Trump who pressured them to overturn Georgia’s election results.

Raffensperger posted the following tweet this afternoon:

Here is the complete news release from the Secretary of State’s office.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a signature match audit in Cobb County and an additional statewide signature match audit. The Secretary of State’s Office will partner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct the Cobb County audit and with an accredited university for the statewide audit.

“Election integrity has been a top priority since day one of my administration,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “Though the outcome of the race in Georgia will not change, conducting this audit follows in the footsteps of the audit-triggered hand recount we conducted in November to provide further confidence in the accuracy, security, and reliability of the vote in Georgia. I look forward to working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Cobb County, and any other future partners to secure the vote in the Peach State.”

Secretary Raffensperger first announced that following specific allegations that election workers in Cobb County had not adequately conducted signature matching on absentee ballot applications ahead of the June primary elections, the Office of the Secretary of State would partner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an audit of the signature match in Cobb County. The audit will consist of reviewing a statistically significant subset of the signed absentee ballot envelopes and comparing those signatures to the ones on file in Georgia’s voter registration system.

“Conducting this audit does not in any way suggest that Cobb County was not properly following election procedures or properly conducting signature matching,” said Chris Harvey, Director of Elections for the Secretary of State’s office, who was formerly the Chief Investigator for the office. “We chose Cobb County for this audit because they are well known to have one the best election offices in the state, and starting in Cobb will help as we embark on a statewide signature audit. Just like Cobb County volunteered to be a pilot county for our new voting system, we thank everyone at the Cobb County elections office for their cooperation with this process especially while voting is underway for the runoff.”

The audit of Cobb County’s signature match system is expected to take two weeks. However, it will not change the outcome of the November election.

Raffensperger also announced a planned statewide signature match audit. The Office of the Secretary of State will partner with an accredited university to conduct a third-party signature match statewide audit study.

Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record turnout in 2020, with over 1.3 million absentee by mail voters and over 3.6 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.