ATLANTA (WRBL) – With the November 2020 presidential election contested in some courts and the Electoral College vote near, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office provided an update Thursday on the votes and recount process.
Georgia’s statewide voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling says the number of cases investigated regarding voting issues in 2020 was 250. This number includes cases before the general election on Nov. 3.
Of the 250 cases that were being investigated, only 132 involve the general election, according to Sterling. There are 23 investigators working on those cases.
The Secretary of State’s Office has met with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about the ongoing investigations, after receiving approval from Gov. Brian Kemp on Dec. 8.
In addition to the cases being investigated from the general election, Sterling also discussed the two upcoming Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5, which could decide who controls the U.S. Senate.
At this time, Sterling said 1,153,912 absentee ballots have been put into the voter registration system through the online portal. There are still 14,824 on the dashboard for request, for a total of 1,168,736 potential votes.
Sterling said there have also been 415,862 requests made through the portal for the Senate races.
Moving on to signature verification, Sterling said the process has always been publicly viewable. Sterling says only one request has been made so far for viewings of this process. All processes for the election are publicly viewable.
The Secretary of State’s Office continues its investigations into multiple election concerns, including observation access being blocked in some counties. Sterling said they had received reports from David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.
“He [Shafer] said counties had denied him this access. We said ‘okay, give us a list of those counties, and we’ll investigate them,'” Sterling said. “We’ve asked for this list, we have yet to receive them, but the second we do, we’ll begin an investigation into any counties that might have done that.”
Sterling says there is also an investigation on vote review panels in DeKalb County, focused on how they were used and how they were staffed, as well as the process they used. Sterling says it is just one item in a “litany of things” the state is investigating.
Sterling also addressed a report issued in the evening on Dec. 9 regarding an issue in Coffee County.
Sterling said the state “…had been talking to them on Thursday about the situation where they were off by 50 votes. They had, obviously, two batches of 50 that they had scanned. Again, it was plainly obvious to us that they had double scanned a batch.”
Sterling said the director in Coffee County had wanted to use a different process for verification and had “unexplainable equipment issues.” The problems led to Coffee County being the last county in Georgia to finish the recount process, out of the state’s 159 counties.
Sterling also clarified a more personal subject, following some claims leveled in recent days.
“Just a clearing up, I am not in fact, a communist, I am not a commie. My stepmother is actually from Cuba, so it’s actually a little more offensive than normal to be called that,” Sterling said.
He called the accusations just “silliness and unseriousness in a very serious time.”
Sterling also said that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, himself, and Kemp, had never received money from Chinese communists.
“As I’m saying it out loud, it seems even that much more ridiculous that I have to say it,” Sterling said. “But that’s where we’re at right now. So we’re going to continue to debunk these things.”
Sterling says the Secretary of State’s Office is continuing to investigate claims of potential felon voting amid President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 election’s results. So far, initial investigations show less than 100 people have potentially voted improperly as felons.
While Sterling said the president’s legal challenge is the proper venue to contest the election results, he said the president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani’s use of repeatedly debunked videos alleging voter fraud only “add oxygen” to misinformation that erodes trust in the election process.
Sterling also said that despite the disbelief that Joe Biden won Georgia in the election, “He did.”
Despite the president’s loss to Biden, Sterling pointed out that Perdue won 19,000 more votes than Trump on the ballot in his race against Jon Ossoff.
Going forward, Sterling says the Secretary of State’s Office will continue to investigate claims of ballots cast by ineligible voters. He says the office will continue to follow the law and follow the rules, and told voters to be ready to fight for the vote in January.
“Yes, be upset, yes be ready to fight for Jan. 5, because that’s the important thing,” Sterling said. “…do not listen to those who tell you ‘don’t vote’ on Jan. 5 as a protest. That’s silly. It’s a silly thing to do, to deny yourself the vote. And I’ve had to have this argument with people I’ve known for 20 years…I’m telling you, the thefts didn’t happen, but if you believe it happened, if you really believe somebody stole this from you, don’t make it easier on them to steal it next time. Go vote.”