While there is no evidence of fraudulent activity during the November election in Georgia, the state’s top republican leaders have called for additional criteria to be established for postal voting in future elections.
In last month’s comments, when the state confirmed its election results for Joe Biden, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp and Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, separately vouched for a new policy that would require absent voters to submit photo IDs alongside their postal ballots.
Mr. Raffensperger, who vehemently rejected the unproven allegations of Donald Trump that misconduct contributed to Georgia’s election results, called for a reform of the laws governing postal voting in a public speech on November 20.
“I will work with legislators to find a solution that will allow us to apply the same security measures to postal votes as to personal voting,” he said. “This would include the requirement for photo identification. We know this works.”
In the midst of the Trump campaign’s complaints aimed at stopping and later reversing Georgia’s certification, Raffensperger defended the state’s election procedures on several occasions and criticized attacks on their legitimacy. However, he admitted that an influx of postal ballots that were distributed this year as a result of the pandemic raised “concerns about electoral integrity” when the announcement was made in November.
In comments made later that day, Kemp spoke out in favor of Raffensperger’s proposed change to the protocols for postal votes.
“Voters who cast their ballots in person must show photo identification, and we should consider applying this standard to postal votes as well,” the governor said, referring to the Foreign Minister’s remarks.
“I have heard from many members of the General Assembly, and I appreciate their contribution and share their concerns,” Kemp continued. “I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston and members of both bodies to resolve the issues raised in recent weeks.
Cody Hall, a spokesman from Kemp’s office, confirmed in a statement to Washington Newsday on Thursday that the “governor’s position on the requirements for photo identification for absent voters has not changed.
The Trump campaign targeted Kemp and Raffensperger in the post-election period. Most recently, the incumbent president claimed that even the second audit of the Georgian presidential elections would not produce accurate results without additional efforts in signature matching to re-check the identification of absent voters.
The more formal demands of the election campaign for a renewed signature comparison presented the Georgian election officials with an impossible task, as the postal ballots are removed from their respective envelopes for privacy reasons after the signatures have first been verified. In addition, Raffensperger, in a statement on November 15, noted that Georgia has stepped up signature matching this year and stated that election workers are trained to confirm the match twice before the ballots are considered verified. The state also set up an online portal where voters could digitally request absentee ballots before the election, and those who used it had to present photo ID.
“In this state, voters cast their ballots in secret, so no political party or candidate can ever intimidate or threaten a voter to change their vote. We will continue to protect the integrity of the vote,” said Raffensperger.
As 11alive.com reported, election officials on Thursday continued with the completion of the results of the nationwide recount of ballots in Georgia, which followed a manual check of all votes cast for the president. It is not expected that the recount will change the state’s election results.
Washington Newsday contacted Raffensperger’s office for further comments, but did not receive a response in time for publication.