Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is super angry that in the state's June 9 primary election, about 1,000 people appear to have voted twice, by submitting absentee ballots and going to the polls. In many cases, people voted at the polls because they weren't sure their absentee ballots had arrived in time, but Raffensperger announced yesterday his office will investigate the double votes as possible felonies.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, however, that under Georgia law,

Voters are allowed to cancel their absentee ballots and then vote at polling places as long as their ballots haven't yet been received by election officials. It's unclear whether the voters under investigation attempted to do so.

The paper also noted that in the general confusion of the June primary, poll locations didn't always have up-to-date voter records, or couldn't get through on the phone to county election offices to check whether absentee ballots had been received, but Raffensperger insists that voters just needed to know they could only vote once, period.

"A double-voter knows exactly what they're doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law," Raffensperger said during a press conference at the state Capitol. "Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it."

So thank goodness, there will be a price paid by wrongdoers, as long as you aren't talking about those who made a hash of actually running the primary election.

As you may recall, that primary was a clusterfuck of epic proportions, with hours-long waits to vote, people never receiving absentee ballots they'd requested, and problem after problem with the state's new voting machines. As is something of a tradition for Georgia following the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the voting problems seemed especially likely in areas with lots of people of color, though some mostly white suburbs had issues too. In keeping with his party's insistence on personal responsibility, Raffensperger blamed many of the issues on poor "management" by county election officials, suggesting they hadn't adequately trained poll workers. So clearly, if there was confusion that led to double voting, the only ones to blame for it are those irresponsible felonious voters who did precisely what Donald Trump advocated in North Carolina last week (and in Colorado in 2016): They weren't sure their mail-in ballots had counted, so they went to the polls to make sure.

As the Journal-Constitution reports, when records showed someone had already submitted an absentee ballot, poll workers did prevent them from voting again. But having that information was iffy:

"During the primary election, we could not reach anyone for hours on election day. We had no choice but to have the voter sign an affidavit and let them vote," said Todd Faircloth, a Fulton County poll worker.

In all, about 150,000 people who'd requested absentee ballots ultimately went to the polls to vote instead, many because they didn't receive the ballot they'd requested, and others because they just decided to vote in person. in most cases, voting in person should have invalidated the mailed vote, or the other way around. But in all the chaos, the system lost track, and voters may have been asking themselves, "Do I feel lucky about voting today?" Well, did they, punk?

About 1,000 voters in 100 counties both returned absentee ballots and were then allowed to vote in person, Raffensperger said. The number of double-votes amounts to about 0.09% of the 1.15 million absentee ballots cast in the primary.

Well there's your massive wave of fraud, most of it apparently the result of confusion, not intent to cheat. Raffensperger said no races' outcomes appear to have been affected by the double voting. The double votes will be investigated and potentially charged with fraud, on a case-by-case basis. The breakdown in double votes was about 60 percent by voters who'd requested Democratic primary ballots, and 40 percent who'd requested Republican ballots, so we'll predict there will be something like 600 prosecutions following the investigation.

No word yet on whether the state will pursue charges against one fine fellow who decided to vote a second time just to "test" the integrity of the system, as smart people do. Hamilton Evans told an Atlanta TV station he'd voted by mail, but when he took his wife to vote in person, a poll worker asked him for his ID and handed him a ballot. So to make a point about how voter fraud is rampant, he decided to commit a felony, "To prove that there is a flaw in the system. It's that simple."

No doubt hoping his freelance investigation would get him featured on "Tucker Carlson's Who Even Knows What's With This Crazy Country Anymore," Evans went to tell the sheriff why he'd voted twice. He explained to WAGA-TV, "The reason I done that was just to prove a point. It's not set up right. If I did it, how many other people did it?"

Apparently, that would be about nine 100ths of a percent of Georgia's primary voters, most of whom probably didn't think they were making a brilliant point, either. WAGA doesn't say whether Mr. Evans has yet been either charged or given a huge reward for his civic-minded crime.

In contrast to the vast outbreak of a tiny fraction of a percent of Georgians voting twice, the ACLU of Georgia last week released a report which found that last year's purge of more than 300,000 voters from the state's voter rolls, ostensibly for the purpose of removing people who had died or moved, actually got rid of nearly 200,000 voters who were still at their registered addresses.

But under Georgia's dumb "use it or lose it" law, people can be placed on the "inactive voter" list if they don't vote in any elections in three years. After that, they can be purged if they miss two more general elections and don't send back a postcard sent to their address. In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill expanding the time before voters were declared "inactive" from three years to five, but leaving the rest unchanged. The new timeline is not retroactive for voters who had previously been placed on the inactive list.

That's how those 200,000 voters in the ACLU study were labeled as having "moved," even though they hadn't gone anywhere. The ACLU report was prepared by a research group run by voting rights advocate Greg Palast, a longtime critic of the "purge by postcard" system that's used to disenfranchise infrequent voters. The Supreme Court has upheld Ohio's use-it-or-lose it purge system, which says more about rightwingers on the Court than the fairness of the system.

In response to the ACLU report, a spokesperson for Raffensperger pointed out that a local TV station had found several cases in which registered voters weren't at their listed addresses anymore (yes really), and complained,

"It is unfortunate that the ACLU hired a known Stacey Abrams shill to conduct research especially when there are so many credible options on the Left to hire."

Besides, didn't you notice the secretary of state's name is fake German for "Purging the Riffraff"?

And never mind those 200,000 Georgians who got kicked off the rolls — one two-hundredth of that many voters voted twice, so there's a crisis to take care of.

[AJC / WAGA-TV / ACLU of Georgia / American Public Media / AJC]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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