Election investigators in Georgia, auditing signatures from a sample of absentee ballots, have determined that there is no demonstrable evidence of fraud, contradicting errant claims pushed by President Donald Trump ever since he lost the presidential election last month.
More than 15,000 absentee ballots and the envelopes that had held them, randomly chosen from 30 election boxes in Cobb County, Georgia, were part of the audit to see whether signatures matched up or not. The number of ballots checked represents around 10 percent of the total cast via absentee voting, providing investigators with a sample size large enough to produce a 99 percent confidence level in their findings.
None of the ballots audited showed that there was fraud of any kind related to invalid signatures. Ten ballots (representing less than 0.067 percent of those audited) did have mismatched signatures, but investigators determined, through contacting the voters directly, that the ballots were indeed legitimate.
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Cobb County was among the handful of heavily populated counties in the state that helped propel President-elect Joe Biden to winning Georgia in last month’s election. Biden won the county, which is northwest of Atlanta, with more than 56 percent of the vote, while Trump garnered 42 percent.
While not a complete audit of the entire state, the findings from the investigation provide more evidence against Trump’s claims of fraud, state leaders said. Indeed, while the president continues to maintain, wrongly, that fraud influenced the election’s outcome, two recounts in the state so far — plus two signature comparisons that take place automatically whenever any voter requests an absentee ballot — have confirmed Biden as the winner in Georgia.
The state has certified its election results, confirming that Biden won by a 11,779-vote margin over Trump, winning Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes in the process.
“The secretary of state’s office has always been focused on calling balls and strikes in elections, and in this case, three strikes against the voter claims and they’re out,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said following the audit’s conclusion.
Trump, for his own part, appeared to be dismissive of the findings from Cobb County. Without acknowledging the results of that audit, the president tweeted complaints about a separate county, suggesting that an audit there would prove his unfounded claims true.
“When are we going to be allowed to do signature verification in Fulton County, Georgia? The process is going VERY slowly,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday evening.
In a set of other tweets, Trump continued to suggest that there was a conspiracy against him winning the state, going so far as to claim that Raffensperger had connections to China and therefore could not be trusted to verify the state’s election results.
“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!” Trump tweeted.
Raffensperger, in fact, doesn’t even have a brother, and it appears Trump is connecting a different person with the same last name, unrelated in any way, to Georgia’s secretary of state.