The November 2020 election proved to be a pivotal breaking point for the Republican Party in Georgia, and it continues to be a point of contention. As a young lawyer, it was heartbreaking to see what unfolded in real-time, but also what did not unfold. Leadership was scarce and naysayers were loud when it came to any utterance of questioning the election results. Until recently.
The Georgia Election Board has just sent subpoenas to the voter integrity organization True the Vote, founder Catherine Engelbrecht, the OPSEC Group and its founder Gregg Phillips to produce evidence related to a ballot harvesting operation in Georgia. Coincidently, the deadline for document production is today.
Rumors started swirling in April 2021 about a potential ballot harvesting scheme, which True the Vote has now coined as “ballot trafficking.” It is described as similar to how drug mules and drug dealers operate, but with ballots. Both types of operations are illegal in Georgia.
Then, there was a meeting with members of Gov. Brian Kemp’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to present portions of the alleged evidence found. In subsequent months, there was back and forth between True the Vote and its data team with multiple government agencies in an attempt to initiate a formal investigation. In September 2021, GBI Director Vic Reynolds sent a letter to True the Vote and state GOP Chairman David Shafer stating there was not enough evidence to initiate such an investigation. Yet it’s important to point out that the reason evidence was withheld originally was because True the Vote was worried the agency would leak confidential information that would jeopardize the integrity of the evidence and any other ongoing investigations. It was right.
Shortly after the GBI letter was indeed leaked to multiple media outlets detailing the evidence and names of data analysts for True the Vote, formal complaints were submitted to the Secretary of State’s office on November 30, 2021.
This is where things get interesting.
Fast forward to January 2022 when Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announces that his office will be investigating the complaints. Specifically, the claims that there were 242 ballot “traffickers” making an average of 23 runs per day to drop boxes, totaling 5,662 ballot drops. Originally discovered by geospatial data and cell phone tracking, the claims are said to be confirmed by dropbox surveillance footage. This is the same video footage slated to be released in motion picture format on May 2 by Dinesh D’Souza called “2,000 Mules.” The trailer for the movie shows people depositing multiple ballots in a box during a single visit (many visits occurring in the middle of the night), taking pictures of themselves doing so while wearing gloves and masks.
In light of the extreme public outcry for action to be taken, on April 21, 2022 subpoenas were issued to further the scope of the SOS investigation. Specifically, the subpoenas seek “the identity and contact information of the several individuals regarding personal knowledge, methods, and organizations involved in ballot trafficking in Georgia referenced in the Complaint and any recordings, transcripts, summaries, testimony, statements, witness interviews, notes or other documents describing what those individuals said.” Also noteworthy, the subpoenas ask for the identities of the “non-governmental organizations” which allegedly worked together to execute the ballot trafficking scheme. Not shockingly, one of the nonprofit organizations is rumored to be linked to gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Inevitably, claims of “voter suppression” will come from Democrats. However, voter suppression is not investigating valid claims of misconduct or irregularities. Voter suppression is when a legal vote is diluted by an illegal vote. Free and fair elections should not be a partisan issue,yet somehow they are. The goal is simple. If something nefarious occurred, those with the authority to do so owe it to the voters in Georgia to investigate.
Furthermore, critics who say “there is no evidence” are simply delusional. Hundreds of hours of publicly available surveillance footage show alleged ballot traffickers literally stuffing ballot boxes. Anyone with a pulse should be alarmed and downright terrified about the validity of our election results.
As the roller coaster ride continues, Secretary of State Brad Raffenspeger has not stopped commenting about his apparent fight for election integrity and is now calling for a federal ban on ballot harvesting.
This is confusing coming from an elected official who claimed the 2020 election was the “most secure in history.” No matter what side of the political aisle you are on, every single Georgian should have an aversion to ballot harvesting (“voter suppression”). The egregious election law violations which have surfaced in the aftermath of 2020 deserve to be properly analyzed.
And this should have occurred much sooner than days before Georgia’s early voting is set to begin.
Ultimately, the complaints filed coupled with dropbox video footage raise two critical questions: Were enough ballots trafficked to overcome the margin of 11,779 votes? And should the 2020 election have been certified?
Courtney Kramer is a Georgia attorney with the Binnall Law Group.