MARIETTA — Cobb is the latest county in which the Georgia Secretary of State’s office has found evidence of suspected voter fraud related to an organization with ties to a state representative.
The New Georgia Project, founded by Democratic House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, attempts to help minorities, young people and unmarried women register to vote, according to the organization’s website.
The group is under investigation for possible voter fraud by Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, according to Thomas Jared, a spokesman for Kemp’s office.
“We were initially contacted by six counties with potentially fraudulent voter application forms which had come in from a group called the New Georgia Project,” he said.
Jared said Kemp’s office began looking into the allegations and found what they believed to be evidence of wrongdoing at the end of last week, but would not elaborate on what the evidence was.
“We launched a formal investigation and found significant proof of fraud. On Tuesday, we sent a letter to all 159 county election offices.”
Jared said Kemp’s office then subpoenaed the New Georgia Project for documents “because we need to get to the bottom of this fraud.”
The New Georgia Project has until Sept. 16 to respond to the subpoena, Jared said.
The number of counties reporting potential voter fraud has since grown to 13, according to Jared, and Cobb is the most recent addition to the list after Kemp’s office received documents from the Cobb Board of Elections.
“We formally found evidence of what we suspect is fraud there (Friday). We’d received the forms not long ago, but in examination (Friday we) found what we think is fraud.”
Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb Board of Elections, said the agency may have reported some incidents similar to what the original six counties reported.
“They’re the same kinds of issues that are happening all over,” she said. “So, many counties have found issues with the registration applications.”
Jared confirmed the documents received from Cobb aligned with what Kemp’s office had found in other counties.
Eveler believes the allegations stem from suspect voter registration applications.
“My understanding is that there were several applications with the same handwriting that appeared to be written by the same person but signed by different people. That sort of thing,” she said.
Eveler said her agency has sent applications it found issues with to Kemp’s office over the “last month or so,” but did not have anything specific to share.
“This is a Secretary of State issue,” she said. “It’s not our issue.”
Jared said investigators will continue to examine the issue and would ultimately make a presentation to the State Election Board. Depending on the results of the investigation, there are several possible actions the board could take, Jared said.
“It could be referred over to the Attorney General’s office,” he said. “It could result in, you know, fines and civil penalties. It could result in, you know, mandatory training. At this point, it would be speculative.”
Calls made to Abrams were not returned by press time.