Republicans from the state of Georgia have filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, pointing out that the state is violating the constitution by enforcing an inconsistent signature matching process for absentee ballots. The appellants asked the court to order that all absentee ballots received for the runoff elections remain unopened pending the appeal. Such an order would ensure that ballots are safely segregated and not separated from the mailing envelopes that have signatures on them.
The lawsuit was filed by the state GOP, National Republican Senatorial Committee, and election candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in early December against members of the Georgia State Election Board and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Around 1.2 million residents of the state have requested absentee ballots and over 1.1 million have voted in person or through mail. The appeal in the circuit court was filed after Judge Eleanor Louise Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed the lawsuit by calling concerns regarding election fraud as being “far too speculative.”
On Dec. 18, Attorney Lin Wood filed a lawsuit against the Georgia secretary of state and asked the court to order that identity and voter signature verification processes follow the rules set by state law rather than the instructions of election officials. He argued that the signature verification process currently adopted by Georgia was illegal since it usurped the state legislature’s authority. According to state rules, absentee ballots with signatures that did not match images previously stored on file had to be rejected. But election officials made new rules to allow ballots with mismatched signatures to be brought to the attention of two or more additional officials, who could then together decide whether to reject the envelope.
“The Defendants thus changed the clear statutory procedure for confirming voter identity at the time of voting, so that rather than one poll worker reviewing signatures, a committee of three poll workers is charged with confirming that absentee ballot signatures are defective before rejecting a ballot… By designating a committee of three to check mail-in absentee voter identification but having a single poll worker check in-person voter identification, the challenged procedure favors the absentee ballots, treats the absentee voters differently from in-person voters, and values absentee votes more than the ballots of in-person voters,” the lawsuit states.
Meanwhile, Republican candidate David Perdue lashed out at Democrat opponents Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock for accepting large amounts of money from sources outside of Georgia. In an interview with Fox News, Perdue noted that much of the contributions received by his opponents came from Democrat strongholds like New York and California. “Well, who would believe that you could spend a half a billion dollars in two Senate seats in one state, but it might happen… We just resent that to some degree down here because we don’t want people from outside the state coming down here and trying to dictate what we’re going to do,” Perdue said on the program.
According to a report by FiveThirtyEight, almost 96 percent of the money raised by the two Democrat candidates through ActBlue, a fundraising platform, came from out-of-state donors. New York contributed $10.6 million while California donated $25.8 million to the campaigns of the two candidates. Given that Republicans will secure a majority at the Senate if Democrats lose the two seats up for grabs in the runoff elections, it is not surprising that they are pouring in money to ensure their candidates win. A poll conducted by Emerson College discovered that the two Republican candidates, Loeffler and Perdue, have more support from the public compared to their Democrat opponents.