Beyond the headlines and campaign rhetoric, the state’s investigation into possible irregularities by a Democratic-leaning group’s efforts to register blacks, Asians and Hispanics to vote has many facets, and not all are yet known. The investigation into the New Georgia Project began in early May, when local registrars started reporting to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division that voters had complained of intimidation and that documents turned in by the group appeared suspicious. In all, officials in 13 counties so far — from Effingham and Toombs in the southeast to Coweta and Gwinnett in the northwest — have submitted suspicious documents to state investigators. Since Secretary of State Brian Kemp is a Republican, Democrats and officials of the New Georgia Project have alleged in the media that the investigation is a GOP attempt at minority voter suppression. But many of the complaints that triggered the probe originated in Democrat-controlled counties like Muscogee, DeKalb and Fulton.
The chief investigator for the Elections Division, Chris Harvey, told the State Election Board that already 28 forgeries have come to light when voters told officials they did not sign documents New Georgia submitted bearing their names. Forging election forms is a felony. Investigators are still trying to contact voters about another 26 questionable documents.
“Did you do the math?” asked David Worley, the only Democrat on the Election Board. Democrats have argued that 28 problems out of the 85,000 applications New Georgia has submitted amounts to a 0.04 percent error rate. However, it’s about 30 percent of the suspicious documents that local officials submitted to investigators.