Secretary of State refers 35 cases of election law violations for criminal prosecution

ATLANTA — The Georgia state Elections Board announced during a meeting Wednesday that they have referred 35 cases of election law violations to the attorney general or district attorneys for criminal prosecution.

Channel 2 Action News first reported about the cases at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Many of incidents happened before 2020. The 23 investigators handling election matters work on an appointed, volunteer basis and don’t meet every month, so some of the cases date back to 2016.

During the meeting, state investigators reiterated that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, machine or election management problems in 2020.

They then laid out summaries of dozens, and in most cases, years-old-election investigations that were referred to prosecutors.

“Election fraud is not tolerated in Georgia. When there is evidence of it, the people responsible face prosecution,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, chairman of the five-member board.

On Thursday, Raffesnperger talked to Channel 2′s Justin Gray about the years-old backlog of election fraud cases and the state’s effort to catch up.

Raffensperger said the election board will now spend the rest of this month trying to work through those cases from past elections, and then get to more cases dealing with the 2020 election.

“I think people need to understand that we’re not going to tolerate noncitizens voting and also people double-voting,” Raffensperger said. “The board is not going to have a lot of patience with people willfully defying the laws of Georgia.”

Raffesnperger said he hopes the work of the election board restores voter confidence, which has plummeted since former President Donald Trump made repeated, unfounded claims of voter fraud in Georgia.

Georgia Republican’s confidence that their votes would be counted as intended fell from 93% just before the general election to 71% by the January runoff.

“What we saw was, the only people that had an impact on were Republicans who were his supporters,” Raffensperger said. “Other voters either maintained or increased their confidence in the process.”

Among the cases sent for prosecution were four cases of felons voting or registering to vote, four cases of noncitizens voting or registering to vote and one case of misplaced ballots during the 2020 general election, which changed the total number of votes in that county but not the outcome.

Canvassers for two organizations trying to register to vote were also sent for prosecution, including one that allegedly submitted registration applications that were false.

One of those involves U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a former board chair of voting rights group New Georgia Project. The board, with the exception of David Worley, who recused himself from the vote, sent a 2019 voter registration drive case to the Attorney General alleging the group violated state rule by delivering roughly 1,200 new voter registrations to the Gwinnett Elections Board after a mandated 10-day window.

The incident cause voters to be disenfranchised in the March 19, 2019 special election.

There is no concrete timetable for when the board will look at the cases.

Other noteworthy cases, according to the news release, are as follows:

  • Samunta Shomine Pittman, who allegedly submitted 70 false voter registration applications while canvassing for the Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
  • Floyd Jones, who was the director of the Fayette County Board of Elections and Voter rRegistration but has since resigned, for his alleged improper handling of four memory cards registering 2,760 votes in the general election.
  • Joseph Lee Blackmon, who allegedly registered to vote while serving a felony sentence.
  • Hassan Dawud Musaddiq, Michael M. Ware and Brian Keith Pritchard, for allegedly voting while serving a felony.
  • Talibah Fagueera Fatimah, Bint Abdul Hamid Bratton and Sharmaine Swift, for allegedly submitting a false voter registration application
  • Sophia Sharpe for allegedly voting in another person’s name.
  • Albert Niks, Hurlstone Hendy, and Sean Watson, for allegedly voting noncitizens.
  • Clifton Seymour Salmon, for allegedly registering to vote as a noncitizen.
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